Friday, March 15, 2013

An Afternoon at Bab al Yemen

Slow roasted lamb haneeth over rice and veggies
When my group of 18 curious diners poured into tiny Bab al Yemen in Bay Ridge for Sunday lunch, we were eager novices to Yemeni food. It paid off.

Scoop up lamb segar with brick oven bread
Our server Viktoria didn't skip a beat in knowing what to suggest for the table. A selection of their most popular appetizers followed by a variety of classics. First came the luscious bread. Blistering loaves of fresh brick oven flat bread. We started ripping it apart even before the appetizers arrived. No matter. Baskets were constantly replenished. The bread is a staple to the cuisine, used as much as a utensil as a filling carb.

Soon after, platters of hummus, each crowned with a fragrant meaty mixture, arrived. One held a giant scoop of lamb segar, tender morsels of spiced meat sauteed with tomatoes and onions. The second, curry yamaani, was our chef's inventive take on a mellow coconut chicken. It all required scooping with chunks of bread. I could have dined on the appetizers alone.

Mild coconut chicken curry yamaani

But wait, there's more. Lots more. A Yemeni omelet of ground meat and diced veggies was served in a piping hot casserole, allowing the freshly cracked egg to cook before your eyes. The fattah b'lahm, a baked lamb which incorporated flat bread with the jus, was so much more than soggy bread. It was hearty and full of flavor. Only the fahsah, a traditional watery lamb soup, turned up bland in comparison to the other excellent dishes.

The bill finally arrived. Under $20 a head. An impossible price for an afternoon of jovial gluttony. At the end of our epic meal, I pulled aside our obliging server with the beautiful black locks and kohl rimmed eyes to sum up exactly what makes up typical Yemeni cuisine. She threw up her hands and said, "I don't know. I'm Polish!" Love it.
413 Bayridge Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
718 943 6961
Open daily 10 am - 11 pm
Friday 2pm - midnight
Bab Al Yemen on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring blog post, lots of enormous information and recipes. I’m going to show my friend and ask them what they think about this.
    "MBA Dissertation Writer"