Twelve Chowhounds (and one Chowpup) got together to experience the cuisine of Yemen at Al Jazera Restaurant in the polyglot Build America Shopping Center at Skyline, Falls Church, VA. Al Jazera is on the back half of the shopping center, completely hidden from street view, so only the intrepid wander back here.
We had Appetizers of:
Kebida (with lamb liver)
Fasulia (white beans)
Two Main dishes ordered off-menu:
And from the menu:
Plus Lamb Soup and salad served to everyone.
Great success with the appeitzers, not so much with the main dishes. Foul was a Best in Show, so creamy and rich with crumbled sharp cheese (goat or sheep?) which leant a nice kick when blended in. This was great. The Fata was a vegetable mixture cooked in a tumeric sauce, glowing yellow, and covered with a yogurt sauce over pita chips. This was very delicious, addictive. Sambosa was a pastry stuffed with a spicy gorund meat, the filling was very good. Falafel was served hot and crispy as was the lamb liver.
The lamb soup was terrible, served in a completely different way than the last time I was here. Apparently the recipe changes dramatically per the whims of the chef.
The best of the main dishes were the ones we ordered off menu. No special advance notice was required. The whole fish was talapia served with a very crispy skin in a savory sauce. With a better kind of fish, it might have been spectacular. The Briani was a rice, nuts and vegetable dish with some lamb mixed in. The blackened cashews leant a nice touch.
Overall the lamb dishes were dry and overcooked. The Hanith comes out as a tightly wrapped package of banana leaf. Very dry inside, which was a surprise. The exception was the Masloog, a boiled lamb dish served more like an oily soup to pour over rice.
The Chowpup refused to share the pureed banana mixture his mommy brought from home. But he provided an unending supply of cute.
Website with menu link: