Yemen Kitchen in the tenderloin ..

Read a quick review on Yemeni Kitchen on Jones (between eddy and turk) in the chronicle:

and paid them a visit earlier tonite for a small dinner. (we had appetizers at bar crudo’s super awesome happy hour, super creamy and tasty seafood chowder ). We were quite full and had just a couple of things:

  1. The fava bean dish was amazing, maybe the best dish of 2015 for me. It went great with yemeni bread. Reminded me a lot of the “bhaji” in indian pao bhaji, with the main vegetable being fava beans

  2. The special lamb dish with veggies and rice was ok. We packed most of this to eat at home tomorrow. It seemed fairly simple with the generic frozen vegetables

  3. The bread was like a good indian chapati / pratha mix. Not as buttery as a paratha, but quite hearty

There were a bunch of yemeni students at the next table and they did some off menu ordering of yemeni dishes. Unfortunately could not get a good translation of what exactly they were eating, but it seemed to be a sweetish meat concotion with sour cream on top. Definitely worth a visit.

We also took a bread and a dessert to eat tomorrow. Our bill was $31 (before tip)



I had a delicious lunch here a couple of weeks ago - just hummus, the bean plate (the other one besides the fava beans you had), and the bread. It was all very good.

This is the very definition of a TL hole-in-the-wall. The owner/cook appears to have previously had restaurants in Michigan and New Jersey.

I’ll just throw in that the bread was fresh and soft. Also unlike De Afghanan, another quick TL-adjacent recent lunch stop, it was plentiful, and they didn’t deliberately scrimp on the first serving in order to force me to purchase more at $2.50 a go.

Parking is terrible in the TL. parked illegally, ran in , ordered chicken stir fry(10), slightly spicy. no bread ordered.
came back got my food, and got yemen bread gratis. cook was calling me brutha at that time.
i thanked my “brutha” , wished him the best.

chicken was deliz, not dry nor juicy, mix of jalenpenos, spices nice combo. bread come in handy sobbing up juices wherever they were.
short menu. combos not seen.

The restaurant changed ownership a few times. My wife and I used to be regulars at Yemeni but found that things started to go downhill at some point in the past year. Turns out someone new took over the restaurant. After a few disappointing meals, we stopped going. My wife ran into one of the waitresses who we’d befriended a couple of months back and she mentioned that the owner and kitchen turned over yet again. Sounds like things are back on track now. We’ve been meaning to go back and check it out as it used to be one of the best value lunches in the neighborhood and it’s only a short skip from our door. I’m glad to see these positive reviews.

Nope. This is a completely different place we’re talking about.

Thanks for the heads up, I went to Yemen Kitchen on a cold Sunday and tried their saltah, which was quite good. Haven’t had saltah before. Hearty spicy stew in an iron bowl with some squash, lamb, potatoes I think, onions, and a layer of fenugreek froth on top that kind of tasted like a layer of slightly bitter cheese. It came with a basket of flatbread that was a bit different from the other flaky paratha-like bread they serve. More like a pita bread. Good for scooping up the saltah. Nice on a cold day, look forward to trying other things.

Note: there were some small bones in the saltah, eat with caution.

I think I’m going to swing by for lunch today… everyone seems to love the beef stir-fry (per the Eater recommendation above) but how do the zanbaka/kartalah hold up?

I’ve only done a take-out order once and I just had the fava bean and eggs, which was pretty darn good, although I hate coriander sprigs. Should I go for the beef stir-fry or the zanbaka/kartalah (either fava/nothern beans) and is there a difference in prep or ingredients besides the inclusion of beans in the latter?

Well I had the stir fry with tawlah which was great… you wrap it up like a shawarma and it soaks up the juices of the meat and tomatoes. I found the northern beans pretty dry and flavorless to be honest. I also ordered hummus, which I didn’t like at all.

I googled, but it still unclear to me afterwards. What is tawlah?

sorry, typo. I mean tawah- it’s a homemade malawah type bread in Yemeni cuisine.

Got it. I did not know tawah nor tawlah, so its good to know its the bread. Thanks!

Yemen Kitchen has been on my list to go for a while. Will try to go some time.

I’ve liked most of what I’ve had but I don’t think it’s anything more than a neighborhood hole in the wall, tbh

I am curious to give them a try given the brunch I had at Saha in Berkeley was somewhat fusion-y. I imagine Yemen Kitchen is more traditional.

And i don’t have Yemeni where I am.

It’s basically a greasy spoon lunch counter. I really enjoyed the beef stir fry with their homemade bread. I thought the northern beans/fava beans were dry and kind of tasteless but they’re much better mixed in with other dishes. I would get them again and mix them in with the stir fried beef and tomatoes. Same for the northern beans with egg (I think it’s called an omelette on their breakfast menu, although it’s served all day). It’s probably a lot better with their salsa, but as mentioned, I despise cilantro so I didn’t douse my beans in it, as I’m sure most do. I bet it’d be good with some Cholita Linda hot sauce or something though. The hummus was awful imo. It looked more like mutabbal or baba ghanoush, which I expect it might have been actually. It had a similar consistency and very pungent flavor that was almost sour. I didn’t eat any of it. Their lentil soup is not bad either if you like very thick soups - I actually ate it with a fork the next day! I used to really love Yemeni’s in the TL (they did a kickass saltah, soups and homemade Yemeni style mezzehs and breads) but it’s changed hands so many times and I’ve read lots of mixed reviews. I think other posters on the forum have reported that it’s not very good anymore, but then I’ve seen at least one recent Yelp review that said the same of Yemen Kitchen and recommended Yemeni’s instead. I would be willing to go back and give it a shot.

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It seems that no one in this old thread has mentioned that Abdul, owner and chef at Yemen Kitchen, is the former chef of Yemini Restaurant on Sutter. I felt things had gone down hill over on Sutter when he left and it took a while for me to realize where he had gone. The one catch with Yemen Kitchen is that Abdul is not always in the kitchen and the guys he has helping out are not nearly as good of cooks as he is, so quality does unfortunately vary.
One thing I do miss from the old restaurant is that they had a lady who worked there just to make the yemeni bread. For some reason they now use flour that has too much whole wheat in it for my taste, and far less ghee or butter. But still, it tastes great with the Saltah.

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