8403 Almeda @ Holly Hall
UPDATE 11/2015: THIS RESTAURANT NO LONGER SPECIALIZES IN YEMENI FOOD. IT SERVES A MORE GENERIC MIDDLE EASTERN MENU.
The official name is House of Mandi Mediterranean Restaurant but the food is Yemeni and the dishes are probably not what most people think of when they think of Mediterranean cuisine. This is Houston's third Yemeni restaurant. Isn't that an amazing statement to be able to make? Ok, so the two previous ones didn't last. There was the short-lived Yemeni Cafe on Beechnut and the likewise short-lived Mandi Halal restaurant that took over East Africa and Middle East Restaurant and served Yemeni and Somali food. I went to the Yemeni Cafe just once before it closed but never got around to going to Mandi Halal.
This was a very satisfying meal. I couldn't stop eating the lamb or the rice and I left very over-stuffed and with a very modest amount of left-overs.
Fresh pita from the taboon and Yemeni spiced milk tea are free accompaniments to each meal as I understand it. You help yourself to the tea, adding as much milk as you like. There is sugar available but be advised the tea is already sweetened.
The menu isn't large but is more extensive than Yemeni Cafe had; the room, while not posh by any means, is nicer than either of the other two places and is very clean and well-lit. I had been told by the proprietors of both Yemeni Cafe and East Africa Restaurant that Houston's small contingent of ex-pats from the Gulf States lives south of the Medical Center and doesn't go out in public much; perhaps this restaurant will have greater staying power since it's much closer to its customer base. It's not in a part of town most Houstonians would think of as a destination for dining but it's worth a trip to try it out. The staff have been very welcoming and helpful.
The menu has been posted on Urbanspoon and there are a couple of reviews on Yelp, one of which convinces me I need to go back to try some Kabsa. Breakfast is available until 12 N or 12:30 pm and I'm going to be going back to check out the Foul and perhaps some of the other dishes; I think the 'Lam Leaver' may refer to Lamb Liver.