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Ambar’s all-you-can-eat brunch is heavy business

A Balkan salad. A Balkan salad. (Maura Judkis/The Washington Post)

In the food-versus-human struggle that is an all-you-can-eat brunch, food will win. That's especially the case at Ambar, the Barracks Row Serbian restaurant that recently unveiled a $35 bottomless brunch. It's a formidable task anywhere, but especially at a restaurant where meat, cheese and delicious fried dough are a critical part of the national cuisine.

You must go in with a strategy. You must pace yourself. You should also consider bringing a couple of friends, so that you can all sample a few bites of as many dishes as possible without feeling like you're wasting food. (The same strategy applies at Masa 14, which has the same owners and same bottomless brunch option.)

A prosciutto omelet with ajvar, a Serbian red pepper spread. A prosciutto omelet with ajvar, a Serbian red pepper spread. (Maura Judkis/The Washington Post)

It begins with uštipci -- fried balls of sourdough with traditional dipping sauces -- which could almost be a meal on their own. Don't succumb to the temptation. Make sure to save room for the cheese pie and mushroom crepe with bechamel. A Balkan salad of tomato, cucumber, pepper and sweet onion lightens things up, and those craving more familiar brunch fare can find Balkanized takes on omelets and eggs Benedict. If through some combination of willpower and pacing you make it to dessert without being full, offerings include waffles and fried apple rings smothered in jelly -- but if I were to do it over, I'd order the dessert version of uštipci, flavored with Nutella, instead.

The all-you-can-eat brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for entire parties; if someone at your table isn't particularly starving, you might be better off ordering a la carte.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.
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