In this episode of Dining on a Dime, host Lucas Peterson heads to Fifth Avenue in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn to visit Yemen Cafe, a restaurant representing a country that’s unfortunately inaccessible to many right now: Yemen has been ravaged by a horrible war for the past few years, leaving many dead and much of the country uncertain about its future.
There’s a substantial Yemeni population living in Brooklyn — like many immigrant populations, some found refuge from turmoil at home, drawn by the possibility of a new life in the United States. “Anybody who came from Yemen, the first thing they did was come to the restuarant,” says current owner Sid Nassir, who took over the business from his father. “And my father would help them out, get them a job — there wasn’t this big of a community back in the ’80s.”
The younger Nassir and his siblings grew up in the restaurant, which serves up hearty stews, plenty of juicy, flavorful lamb (dishes like the signature lamb haneeth), and one of the best desserts Peterson has ever had — on this show or anywhere else.