|Good for Groups||Doesn’t Serve Alcohol|
Washington is a bastion of global cooking, home to one of the richest culinary cultures in the country, but the traditions of the Arabian peninsula remain largely obscure to many diners, even with the arrival, in the past couple of years, of the area’s first Yemeni restaurants. In a food scene ever more in thrall to the sexy and new, this four-month-old restaurant isn’t pedigreed or high-toned enough to change that, but the cooking deserves wide notice. The smoky baba ghanoush is a marvel, a lustrous whip garnished with fried pine nuts, nigella seeds, and a swirl of olive oil. Tear off pieces of the marvelous pitas and dip them. But save some for the fasha, a sputtering cauldron of cumin-laced shredded beef, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and cilantro. It’s a hard entrée to top, but the haneeth does. The showstopping plate—like many entrées here, it feeds two or three—features some of the tenderest hunks of lamb we’ve come across, each bite fragrant with preserved lemon and coriander, atop a mound of perfectly steamed rice.
Also good: Hummus; shafout (salad with mint yogurt, tomato, onion, and injera); basboussa (semolina cake drenched in honey).