The dish: Susi, a Yemeni casserole.
The place: Marib (6981 Hechinger Dr., Springfield).
The reason: This French-toast-like creation is delicious any time of day.
A meal at Marib is all about delicious discovery for anyone new to Yemeni food, though one item will seem familiar to diners from across the globe: susi, an ultra-comforting casserole that tastes just like French toast. The shareable dish can lean more savory or sweet, depending on whether you drizzle honey on top. It’s served in the family-run restaurant at lunch and dinner as a bready complement to the slow-roasted meats, though it’s available at breakfast by request.
- “In our culture, if you’re a special guest, they’ll make this for you,” says owner Ahmed Alsheikh, who opened the restaurant in 2015 after being homesick for real Yemeni food. “It means they like you so much.”
- Susi is a kind of fattah, a type of dish in which bread is smothered in sweet or savory ingredients. Unlike French toast—which dates to the Roman Empire—it doesn’t make use of stale bread.
- At Marib, flatbread is made with wheat and white flour, butter, and salt and baked in a clay oven. It’s then torn and submerged in a batter of eggs, milk, honey, ghee, and black nigella seeds.
- The mixture is baked in a traditional clay casserole dish imported from Yemen and arrives at the table about 20 minutes later with a buttery, pudding-like center and crunchy top. Servers drizzle honey over the warm crust.
This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Washingtonian.