Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Barracks Row: Happy Hour at Ambar

The other week Amy and I had a late volleyball game and decided to take advantage of one of the happy hours close by. We settled upon Ambar as they had some great drink and food specials. I actually went to Ambar a few years ago for restaurant week and LOVED a couple of their dishes so I was excited to finally make a trip back. 
For happy hour they offer a couple of drinks and small plates for $4. Naturally I had to try all of the cocktails that they offered for happy hour (don't worry, there are only 3!), including a favorite of mine (I had it once 2 years ago and loved it), Mango Lemonade. They also offer a Margarita and a Mojito. All three were great - the margarita was much better then the one I had at the Mexican restaurant across the street recently. I really liked that care was put into their drinks, I watched him muddle each one (at least the mojito and mango lemonade) - it's nice to go to a happy hour that has something other then beer or rail drinks. 
Amy is a vegetarian so we stuck to the veggie happy hour specials and a few vegetarian dishes. Our favorites were the Fries (not on happy hour but according to their online menu they are), Balkan Salad tomato/pepper/onion/aged cheese and the Urnebes Dip cow’s cheese/ajvar/chili flakes/lavash bread. The Balkan salad was light and fresh – necessary to counteract the heavier dishes we picked. The Urnebes dip was flavorful and a must get for cheese lovers – the chili flakes added a nice punch without being spicy and the ajvar (red pepper relish) gave it a lovely color and flavor. We also ordered the hummus which we thought lacked something and will pass it up next visit.
We also decided to try 2 dishes not on the happy hour menu: A flatbread, White “beli hleb” kajmak/cured aged cow’s cheese/fresh herbs/truffle pasta/olive oil and the Cabbage Casuela “podvarak” braised cabbage/dry pepper/yogurt/lepinja. I was not a huge fan of the flat bread but Amy seemed to like it – I was disappointed that I couldn’t pick up the truffle paste. The cabbage dish was different and delicious – I especially liked the addition of the yogurt. While eating this dish I was immediately transported to the Balkan region.
I really liked their happy hour specials and their servers/bartenders were awesome. The ones that we came across were actually from the Balkan region and he helped us pronounce things the proper way. Always a fun experience.

Would I come back? Yes, I really enjoyed their happy hour and would like to revisit for brunch/dinner sometime! 

523 8th Street SE
Washington DC
Barracks Row
Eastern Market Metro
Ambar on Urbanspoon

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