Somewhat of a stalwart from a different Cobble Hill, Yemen Cuisine seemingly has not changed a bit over the years. Trader Joe's has moved in, the neighborhood has continued to evolve in different directions, and strollers pass by without as much as a glimpse inside. I doubt even a new coat of paint has been discussed for a decade. A couple Middle Eastern restaurants and a famous bakery remain in the area, but much has changed since 1988 and the wonders described in an Aramco World Magazine article.
No matter, the food at this spot is unchanged, and that is the important thing here.
It has been years since I took lunch specials for myself when I lived near what is now Barclays Center, but I was happy to be back, this time with a group of four. No matter what you order, soup (above) and a salad will arrive before everything else.
The best way to attack the menu is to choose the meats that also offer what they refer to as a "cultural platter." These platters are the staples of Yemeni meals, the equivalent of rice in other cuisines.
Our first selection was the haneez ($21, above), a roasted chunk of lamb marinated in spices. This we combined with the salta (below), possibly the most iconic dish of Yemeni cooking, a mixture of vegetables and spices heavy with fenugreek. It comes in a clay bowl still boiling and is always served with large round pillowy bread.
The half-roasted chicken ($14, above) is also very good here, and well paired with the lovely (if a bit unappetizing to the eye) fatta (below), bread that has been soaked in lamb gravy sauce. The flavors here are familiar even for westerners, home cooking that is reminiscent of Thanksgiving in the USA.
Don't miss out on their uniquely prepared broiled trout ($18, above), which is served split open with no bones and red from paprika. None of us had ever had aseed (below) before, so we paired it with this, what is described simply as "gruel" on the menu. This cooked flour is served with the lamb gravy as well, and has a consistency somewhere between mashed potatoes and West African fufu.
Yemen Cuisine does a brisk business in the morning and afternoon, but closes up shop some time around 9pm and is not in it's best shape in the evening. Keep this in mind when planning a visit.