MOST RECENT DINNERS
A Yemeni Star in Bay Ridge
Hope you don’t mind if we get political for a moment. (Don’t worry, our next dinner is not dumpster diving with the Occupy Wall Street crowd or a Mormon feast of sego-lilies.) Maybe you’ve heard of this whole Arab Spring thing, then? Maybe you know that it’s gone pretty well so far in a couple places, or maybe you’ve heard about our dinner of fried baby birds at the Egyptian Kebab Cafe a few years back — hot damn, we wish we could go there again. But flying under the radar somewhat (minus the CIA’s Predator drones, of course) has been Yemen, which is arguably more f***ed up than ever — and that’s saying something.
Here’s a bit of very subjective history: it’s got more guns than Rick Perry’s closet, the men carry terrifying-looking daggers around in public, everyone chews qat (a mild narcotic), its oil — the basis of it’s economy — will run out in 6 years, there’s barely any water, and the dictator-in-chief Ali Abdullah Saleh has refused to step down after months of protests, sparking a near civil war.
But man, they do know how to cook. And deep in the heart of Bay Ridge is a gem of a restaurant, and certainly the only authentic Yemeni joint in town. Abdul, the chef, couldn’t be more excited to host us. He’s a master at Yemen’s traditional medieval dishes, but he’s got the culinary school chops to pull off some really adventurous stuff — we’re talking chickens’ feet and heads, and nose-hair-to-tail-feather lamb. And, dear god: if that Yemeni omelette with lamb’s brains isn’t a dying wish meal, we don’t know what is.