Yasmin has had a tumultuous history in the short time since it opened, just before the pandemic in late 2019, taking over the space left by Ali Baba’s Cave. The BF and I visited in preparation for a review in early March 2020. When the City shut down the following week, my notes went by the wayside. Since then, Yasmin closed, went through an earthquake retrofit, had a fire that is still under investigation, and endured a lengthy dispute with the landlord.
Then, it reopened again. The façade got a facelift and the interior was spiffed up, the walls adorned with art from chef/owner Eiad Eltawil’s wife’s art collection from her nearby studio, Rossi Mission SF. Family run and owned, Yasmin is an order-at-the-counter/menu-on-the-wall kind of place, but they do bring your food to your table. I thought it was high time to head back.
The BF and I ordered a couple of tiny falafel that came in kind of a doughnut shape, to share:
Studded generously with sesame seeds, at first bite they seemed a little dry, but were actually quite tasty, crispy and fluffy once dipped into the tahini. A very nice first bite.
BF ordered the beef kofta plate, with hummus, rice, salad and pita.
Plated pleasingly on a stoneware dish, the hummus was fine, but unfortunately not as good as others we’ve had in the neighborhood. The BF enjoyed his well-spiced kofta, though for my taste his rice was under-flavored. The salad of cukes, tomatoes and onion was crunchy and fresh-tasting.
I debated between the Syrian lamb shawarma (with fries, but no lettuce & tomato) and the “regular:”
I went with the “regular,” as I wanted the crispness of the veggies. While this hit all the shawarma notes, the lamb itself was a tad tough and a little bland, which surprised me, as Chef Eltawil considers the spicing of meat to be his specialty. For me, however, this dish was sadly one I wouldn’t repeat.
Yasmin offers a mezze plate, a variety of salads, vegetarian and meat wraps, rotisserie chicken and, most intriguingly, a Syrian pizza (Safiha, a meat pie) that I’d love to try.
Chef Eltawil doesn’t appear to have let the woes that beset Yasmin get him down, but instead is eager to cook for the neighborhood and his community. With so many restaurants in the Mission shuttering of late, let’s get out there and support this family business!
799 Valencia St.