Cheap Eats 2015: Saba

Where we get our favorite rice dishes.

Critic’s Rating:

Cost:

A cauldron holds fahsa, a cumin-scented, long-simmered beef stew. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It was out of necessity that Taha Alhoraivi asked his mother and sisters to teach him the dishes of his tradition. Cooking is frowned upon for men in Yemen, but Alhoraivi was a student on his own in America and was homesick. He began experimenting, launching himself on a two-decade journey that has culminated in this gem of a restaurant, in which he serves as both cook and a kind of tour guide. The rice dishes are reason enough to drop by—taste the way each fluffy grain in his haneeth, a lamb dish, is penetrated with the juices of the long-cooked meat. Alhoraivi also shows great finesse with spicing and braising, most notably in the fahsa, which might be the most aromatic beef stew you will ever eat.

Cuisine: Yemeni

Where you can find it: 3900 Pickett Rd., Fairfax; 703-425-1130

Also good: Shafoot, a salad of injera, cilantro yogurt, radish, and tomato; lentil soup; masoob, a bread pudding with bananas, honey, and nigella seeds.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.