A hard night’s fatteh.

Late night hunger pangs got you wondering if there’s an alternative to ordering from Bedouin Tent for the billionth time?  That’s where I was last night, anyway.  I love the Tent, and their delivery times (avg: ten minutes, for pete’s sake) can’t be beat.  I just couldn’t bear to order another merguez, though, so I trooped off through the humid-but-temperate night in search of one of the all-night Yemeni places on Atlantic Avenue.

I had thought to go to Hadramout, which was reviewed in the Voice not long ago, but before I got to the block in question, another place had caught my eye: Sanaa, which is named after the capital city of the former North Yemen.  I’m not any kind of expert in south Arabian cuisine, but the geographical difference (the area after which Hadramout is named is in the former South Yemen) was enough to lure me in.

One point of difference: Sanaa’s cuisine seems to be a bit more expensive than some of the comparable restaurants further down the block, perhaps befitting its new and recently renovated space (though the décor is mostly photos of the eponymous city).  As is true of all Atlantic Avenue’s Yemeni outposts, most of the Yemeni entrees are over ten bucks – you should note, though, that they probably have enough food to be shared.  As I wished to keep my expenses down, I flipped through the menu until I found something that sounded vaguely familiar: fatteh with dates for only $6.  To hedge my bet, particularly since I didn’t recall what fatteh was, exactly, I ordered some French fries on the side.

As sometimes happens when I order somewhat blindly, I ended up with an amazing meal.  The fatteh, which apparently ordinarily is a stew made of day-old pita (shades of chilaquiles, indeed), was completely pita-free, or at least that’s the way it seemed.  Instead, I was treated to a broken pancake made from ground dates and what seemed similar to rice krispies.  The combination of textures and sweet flavor (particularly on the edge pieces, which had a lovely crunch) was perfect.

The fries turned out to be fine examples of the frozen food service type, and were only $2.  Extraneous, though, particularly when you consider the soup that arrived before the fatteh – a kind of lentil soup that reminded me of sambar sans capsaicin.  The lemon wedge on the side doesn’t really add much to the flavor, though, in my opinion.

Take-out or eat-in, this meal is under ten bucks, and is a great change of pace from the usual options.  Fat chance I won’t go back to try the banana and honey & butter fattehs – Sanaa is a new favorite.

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