- The Magazine
[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly noted that the all-you-can-eat special cost $44.95. The price is $54.99.]
A year ago, Washingtonian crowned Ivan Iricanin the “All-You-Can-Eat King of DC,” in recognition of the bottomless menus that have become signature attractions at his restaurants in the Street Guys Hospitality group. It all started with Ambar, a Michelin-recognized venture the Serbian native opened in 2013 to introduce diners to the Balkan cuisine he grew up on, one small plate at a time.
Whether the occasion is lunch, dinner, or brunch, the restaurant offers guests the full “Ambar Experience” by choosing one of its all-you-can specials — priced at $25 per person at lunch, $35 at dinner for food only or $54.99 including unlimited selected drinks with a two-hour limit, and $39 for a two-hour brunch with unlimited food and drink. As the restaurant is currently open with limited indoor dining, those Ambar Experiences are still very much on the table for those willing and able to dine-in. (Also available: a Valentine’s Day Experience for $85 per person or $104.99 including unlimited drinks for two hours.)
With takeout and delivery more critical to the business than ever, and with comfort food remaining a go-to during the pandemic, the restaurant recently introduced new hearty Balkan Street food options. Developed by Ivan Zivkovic, the recently appointed executive chef at Ambar Capitol Hill, the focus of the new menu is on eight large, shareable Sandwiches starring slow-cooked, locally sourced meat and produce, framed by two slices of seven-inch artisanal-quality bread baked in the restaurant’s brick oven, and served with either thick, perfectly cooked, hand-cut fries, or a baby Kale Caesar salad, all priced from $12.99 to $16.99.
The all-meat lineup includes Meatball Parmesan, Chicken Schnitzel, Grilled Chicken, Roasted Lamb, Smoked Sausage, and the popular Ambar Burger. Based on standouts from a recent sampling, we recommend the flavorful and well-seasoned Balkan Kebab, topped with marinated onions, the traditional Serbian “new” cheese known as kajmak, and smashed paprika, or the piquant Grilled Pork Neck, marinated for 24 hours in a house-made spice mix and served with caramelized onions, Ambar mustard, and dill pickle.
For even heartier fare, the new takeout menu offers Family Meal deals for two with choices of a main dish — such as Slow-Cooked Beef Short Rib Goulash, Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Skewers or Atlantic Salmon, or a Mixed Meat Experience — spread, salad, vegetables, potato, and dessert ($49 to $55 total). Most of those fixings are also available for purchase a la carte along with a two pound serving of either Veal Soup with bone broth, root vegetables, and crème fraiche ($13) or Tomato Soup with roasted San Marzano tomatoes and house-made pesto ($9).
Ambar Capitol Hill is located at 523 8th St. SE. Call 202-813-3039 or visit https://new.ambarrestaurant.com.
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