Thursday, May 10, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ambar

I came here on the recommendation of "someone who's not even that into brunch", and yet this was the definite spot to be. How unique! How DC! How cool....



AMBIANCE
Cute, vintage, eclectic - they did a great job of arranging and decorating the space and making something that wasn't even that plentiful in square-footage to not feel super cramped. I approve. It was raining this day, so that may have contributed to the luck of getting a table right at the window without the reservation it might normally require, though I think we just got lucky - we saw plenty of groups waiting at the doorway afterward.

There are comfy pillows, small wooden tables, little blankets I suppose you could wrap yourselves in, and a virtually two-story bookshelf filled with things to entertain yourself and talk about. This place is cute and fun and visually a hint at what you're about to experience - in food form.



CULTURE
Are you not adventurous? I wasn't sure how I'd feel about eating Balkan food, or about ordering off a menu where half the words meant nothing to me, but as a foreigner (Los Angeles, ahha) I wanted something that wasn't going to be another New American brunch experience that could be better in LA. THIS WAS AMAZING. The different types of foods, spreads, combinations of ingredients, and perhaps even philosophies surrounding food made for an interesting time.



MEZZE PLATTER
mezetluk....11
homemade cornbread / chef's selection of cold cuts
cow cheese / ajvar spread / kajmak



SPREADS TASTING
balkanski namazi....11
kajmak / ajvar spread and Olivier spread
served with cornbread and sourdough



FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH
pileci sendvic....13
almond & walnut encrusted / spring mix / apple-wasabi mayo



BALKAN SALAD
sopska salata....7
tomato / peppers / cucumber / onions / aged cow cheese



STEAK & EGG
biftek i jaja....14
homemade chimichurri sauce / eggs / potato hash / popara



BLKAN BURGER
pljeskavica....14
veal & beef / crispy bacon / house smoked mayo / melted mix cheese



POTATO HASH
kromprici sa lukom....5
glazed smoked onion / house spices / garlic



ROASTED MUSHROOM CREPE
sumske pecurke....8
red pepper emulsion / thyme veloute / gouda



CHICKEN SOUP
pileca supa....6
carrots / parsnip / celery



POACHED PEAR WAFFLE
bakin kolac sa kruskama....10
with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream



FRUIT GRANOLA
zitarice sa vocem....6
homemade granola / yogurt / chef's fruit selection



CINNAMON SWEET SOURDOUGH
ustipci sa cimetom....7
with your choice of Nutella or homemade jam




SERVICE
After we decided to go for the unlimited brunch option, our server had no reservation in recommending dish after dish and making sure we were thoroughly satisfied in both stomach and spirit. Desserts? Foods? More? Water was constantly replenished, and a menus was left for us so that we could, at moment's notice, decide to add another 500 calories to our life and make the most of our culinary adventure. Wonderful!

FOOD
Tapas style, and a $30 option for unlimited brunch, which is an excellent opportunity to try just about everything on the menu, should your stomach be up to the challenge. It might not financially work out on a pure caloric bet unless you still have the appetite of a frat bro (and I don't know how many college students come here, but I would venture not too many). Even so, the variety was the spice of the meal, and is of life, right?

Visually, the spreads and platters are amazing and unique - the spreads themselves are a delight to sample, though you don't need to get both types - they're similar. The mushroom crepe was an interesting mix and yummy to the soul, and the Balkan salad was a definite pretty picture, with cheese sprinkled oh so beautifully over the top of a fresh, tomato-ey salad.

CONCLUSION
This was a bit far from our hotel, which was more in the Dupont area, but well worth the trip out. I seriously can't recommend any more the worthiness of adding Ambar to your list when you're visiting DC - I think more even than the DC staples like Founding Farmers. Should I be lucky enough to visit the city again sometime soon, I will likely be back - this time with a reservation!