Neighborhood Eats: Yemeni coffee, cuisine in Brooklyn at Yafa Cafe

Lauren Glassberg Image
Friday, February 28, 2020
Neighborhood Eats: Yemeni coffee, cuisine in Brooklyn at Yafa Cafe
Lauren Glassberg reports on the Yafa Cafe in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- In this week's Neighborhood Eats, a pair of cousins bring the coffee and cuisine of Yemen to Brooklyn.

Ali Suliman and Hakim Sulaimani, co-owners of Yafa Cafe, were both born in Yemen but grew up in Sunset Park.

"We wanted a place that would both uplift Yemen's coffee market and at the same time speak to the food and cuisine of where we are from," Ali Suliman said.

Yafa Cafe proudly serves real Yemeni coffee with club soda to cleanse the palate.

"Yemen is one of the original ancestors of coffee so it's great to bring that back into the light," Hakim Sulaimani said.

The food menu includes the "riz bowl" with basmati rice, stewed vegetables, and chicken, the "yafa" fried chicken with Yemeni hawaij spice, and the "shurba," a Ramadan oat stew.

The pair pays homage to their fathers, who both owned delis, with their lamb haneeth sandwich.

The leg of lamb is cooked with rosemary, garlic, and Yemeni seasoning. The drippings are thickened with starch, then pureed and strained. The sliced lamb is warmed with the gravy and then layered onto grilled sourdough topped with salsa verde and onion rings.

Yafa Cafe Lamb Haneeth Sandwich Recipe


Leg of lamb

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

2 tsp cardamom

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp cumin

3 tsp salt

3 tsp black pepper

4 tbs olive oil

2 tsps salsa verde

Sourdough bread

2 tsp Corn starch

1 cup water


Mix all dry herbs (including salt and pepper) and rub on leg of lab

Heat olive oil in large skillet, brown the lamb over medium high heat, make sure each side is browned

Transfer to large roasting pan and cover remaining herbs, carrots, celery and onions

Place in preheated 350 degree onion and cook 1 - 2 hours. Thermometer should read 135F for medium rare.

Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.

For the gravy:

Over low heat mix the drippings with corn starch and 1 cup water, salt and pepper to taste. Puree in blender and strain through mesh sieve.

When ready to make sandwiches, toast or grill bread and top with salsa verde, warm sliced lamb in the gravy and plate and add to sandwich. You can also add fried onion rings for crunch.

For more information visit,


* More Brooklyn news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube