Walking into either location of this restaurant (the other is on Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn) is a step into another world, a Middle Eastern one, where traditions and culture are immediately changed. Groups of men or families make up the bulk of the clientele in each of the two neighborhoods.
Many of the dishes you see on most middle Eastern restaurants are available here, but try Yemeni specialties. No matter what you order, you will be served a small cup of tasty marag soup (below), complimentary with an entree and $2 seperately. You can squeeze lemon and add spice if you wish, but the lamb broth and combination of Yemeni spices are plenty to get the tongue whetted.
I am always a fan of Israeli shak-shookah, so I decided to order the plate here to find out how they did it on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. I was a bit disappointed with their version ($8, below) though, a plate of scrambled eggs mixed with ordinary vegetables and served with a side of sautéed tomatoes that can be added.
For those with no previous Yemeni experience, you must of course try the salta ($18.95, below), the national dish of the country. The clay bowl keeps everything very hot inside, so be careful when dipping the accompanying clay oven bread. Assorted root vegetables and whipped fenugreek along with a lamb soup base make up the simple but hearty and delicious dish.
With the salta, you are given the choice between two cuts of lamb. We chose haneeth, which they claim as famous to the restaurant. It is roasted for five hours in high pressure and certainly is a very tender piece of meat.
The restaurant has served the Middle Eastern and Yemeni communities in Brooklyn since 1986 and is still going very strong. More so than other Middle Eastern cuisines, Yemeni stands out as the most distinct from the rest in my opinion, and is worth the slightly higher prices than its neighbors. Come for dinner, and stick around enjoying multiple cups of tea afterwards to take it all in.