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.
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.