Bab al Yemen
413 Bay Ridge Ave (nr 4th Ave)
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 943-6961
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Area: Bay Ridge
Looks can be deceiving. From the outside looking in, you might just pass by Bab al Yemen. The space is a bit sparce with just a few rows of tables. But then something hits you. In the back of the restaurant are small booths dressed up as bedouin tents, and Middle Eastern lanterns with light flickering through the various openings and crevices. That is when the Yemen experiencen begins to kick in.
As is tradition, the meal starts with bread and something to dip it into. We ordered the Lamb Segar with Hummus - morsels of the most tender marinated lamb you will ever taste sauteed with onions and tomato in a sea of spices atop a bowl of creamy hummus. It arrives with two massive pieces of flatbread, called khubz, fresh from a clay oven all bubbly and charred in spots. We barely made it through one piece of bread as we devoured our hummus, which at $14 could have served as an entire meal for two.
Another dish worth seeking out is the Yemeni Omelet ($8). Ground meat is cooked up with stewed vegetables in a small cast iron pot. Eggs are then placed on top. As you break into the yolks, the dish turns into this sizzling cauldron of absolute goodness. Other dishes include Sal-Tah ($14), root vegetables in a bubbling hot lamb soup, and Samak Mashwee ($18), char-grilled fish served with rice and vegetables.
Traditional Shish Kebabs are also available in both lamb and chicken. It is served on a bed of rice with tasty caramelized onions and grilled peppers. And while the chicken was slightly overdone, I would gladly return for just one bite of that hummus!
Review By: Thomas Rafael