Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

TIMNA, 109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A), East Village

Bread baskets were actually a very trendy thing here in New York just a few years ago. And I’m not talking about complimentary bread baskets like restaurants used to offer. I’m talking about an appetizer of some fancy, freshly baked bread with some interesting butters and spreads. Some people complained that bread should be included with the meal. But that didn’t stop chefs from charging a few dollars to fill up on fancy carbs before the entrees arrived.

The bread at Timna, a new modern Isareli restaurant in the East Village, is actually $12 per order. But after reading about it over and over again, I thought it might be worth taking the plunge. And oh boy was I right.

Even after we received a complex plate of roasted cauliflower with curried yogurt and grapes and sampled sweet earthy scallops with vanilla-braised mushrooms and nutty sunchoke purée, the bread was still the winner of the evening.

Kubaneh Bread at TIMNA

This was not just any basket of bread. It’s called kubaneh and is a traditional Yemenite breakfast bread with a yeasty, steamy center. It arrives in a flowerpot with accompaniments of jalapeño salsa, crushed tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt. The dips are colorful and appreciated, but not necessary for this bread. It’s perfect on its own.

Each piece rips apart easily and releases aroma and steam that adds to the experience. This slightly sweet, soft and tender bread disappeared too quickly. It had the sweetness of a brioche, the softness of a popover, and the brownness of a pretzel. Imagine that lovechild.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m happy to pay for bread this good at a restaurant. And you would be too. It’s worth every dollar. Price: $12

TIMNA
109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 964-5181
timna.nyc
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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