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Yemeni's Restaurant: For the Lentil Soup and More

This rain is taking a beating on my psyche. I'm pretty sure though that I could be cheered by the right bowl of soup. And today, I'm craving the most delicious lentil soup that they make at Yemeni's Restaurant (1098 Sutter St., 415-441-8832), a six-month old addition to the TenderNob that my friend took me to the other night.

Conveniently located near the Yemeni mosque (should you need to take advantage of this), the Middle Eastern restaurant still has the intricate, traditional wooden screens leftover from the former Chinese restaurant that occupied the space long ago. Which can either add to its charm or be a bit distracting, but you're not here for the ambiance. You're here for the comforting plates of food, such as very good hummus, or the lamb shoulder, braised till tender and served with a delicious spiced rice and a little side of shredded salad. And the best part of all—the zingy "skhug", which is basically a Yemini salsa, made with copious amounts of garlic, cilantro and chilies. (Shoud you want to try to make it, here's a good-sounding recipe.) Being a Muslim restaurant, there's no alcohol here, so you'll have to be content with a thick mango smoothie of sorts.

Yemeni's has all sorts of gems on its menu that I didn't have the room for that night: Such as salteh, the national dish, a spicy stew made of lamb, egg and vegetables, that arrives at the table bubbling in a pot. A Chowhounder gets into the details here. The restaurant also said that they were serving breakfast which would certainly break up the old bacon and eggs routine.

Surrounding Yemeni's, you'll find more Middle Eastern gems. Check out Cafe Zitouna, the Queen of Sheba grocery store and Saha, which offers a much more upscale Yeminese and Arabic dining experience.