You should check out Ambar, if you haven’t yet. The White Veal Soup alone is reason enough to visit DC’s first Balkan Restaurant. They also recently launched a Bottomless Brunch with “unlimited small plates and free-flowing brunch cocktails”, for $35 a person (inclusive of drinks), it is one of the best brunch deals in town. I ate there two Sundays ago to treat myself to a cascade of courses created by Serbian-born Chef Bojan Bocvarov. Every dish they brought to the table was either Balkan in origin, or conventional brunch fare with a Balkan twist. Here are some of my favorites:
The Bloody Mary is well made and a little different. They make their own mix from scratch and put a rim of Balkan seasoning on the glass that gives every sip a sweet and smoky flavor from the paprika and other powdered vegetables they use. I really liked it and took advantage of the “free-flowing” deal. There are also two types of mimosas to choose from, one conventional and another house mimosa that uses peaches.
To start the meal the server brought out a basket of warm sourdough rolls that were excellent. They tasted as if they just came out of the fryer because they were crispy on the outside and hot and doughy on the inside. They came with a dipping sauce that was made from red peppers.
Next, the Eggs Benedict features two eggs beautifully poached and resting on top of English muffins. As soon as I cut into an egg with my fork the warm yolk exuded over the dish. To top off the decadent egg they use a creamy Kajmak sauce instead of your typical hollandaise. Another interesting twist to this standard brunch faire, they added a layer of Ajvar on the English muffins, which is a vegetable relish and it was delicious.
I get the White Veal Soup on every visit and it is always amazing. The soup coats your tongue and has a comforting feel giving subtle and delicate flavors of veal in every bite. They also add a dash of lemon flavor which reminds me of Greek chicken soup. It’s a warm and comforting dish, great for brunch.
After the soup, I tried the Steak & Eggs with its garlicky and citrusy chimichurri type sauce. It really brightens up the dish and accentuates the medium rare beef and the potatoes were cooked perfectly.
If you are a cheese lover you should give the Cheese Pie a try, crispy phyllo dough encases a rich goat cheese. It is served on top of a refreshing tzatziki sauce with a couple swipes of red pepper emulsion. Be warned, it’s a filling dish that will stick to your ribs.
I finished off the meal with the Fried Apple Rings with amaretto marinated green apples and homemade jam. A sweet ending to an awesome brunch.
Bottomless Brunch must be ordered by the entire table and the menu is offered exclusively for the prix-fixe service. Ambar is located near the Eastern Market metro station in Barrack’s Row at 523 8th Street, SE. They have outdoor seating that is perfect for a lazy Sunday when the weather is nice. Their Bottomless Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. For additional information please call 202-813-3039 or visit www.ambarrestaurant.com.
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