Mari Vanna chain, which started in St. Petersburg, recently landed just south of Dupont Circle.
The beefy brethren part company once again on the range, with the cevapcici spending time in the company of roasted peppers, garlic and cheese, while the burger is sandwiched between dueling sauces — a smattering of zesty urnebes, which weds ajvar (hot pepper relish) with Bulgarian cow cheese and a dollop of cooling tarator (grated cucumber, garlic, yogurt and salt).
Iricanin is excited for locals to try the traditional sarma (beef-stuffed sour cabbage rolls), while we highly encourage everyone to give the mouthwatering bacon-topped, peanut-sauced pork tenderloin a whirl.
Look for slow-roasted pork and lamb dishes to join the roster in the coming months.
Ambar: 523 Eighth St. SE; 202-813-3039; ambarrestaurant.com
Beuchert’s Saloon No. 2
A bunch of locals have banded together to breathe new life into a former Capitol Hill haunt, paying homage to Beuchert’s Saloon (1880-1934) with a fresh take on farm-to-table dining and drinking.
Beuchert’s 2 is projected to open by the end of January. Partners Brendan McMahon (PS7’s alumnus) and Nathan Berger (Acqua al 2) are spearheading the project, while executive chef Andrew Markert (also of PS7 fame) is handling the cooking.
Guests will be able to pull up a chair inside (47 seats) or outside (20 patio spots). The interior has been restored — from the vintage hand-blown chandeliers to the artfully tiled lavatories — to recapture the spirit of the original speakeasy.
And in a twist on the what’s-old-is-new game, the McMahon family farm, East Oaks Organics Farm in Poolesville, Md., will inform not only the menu but also the beverage program.
“The bar program will be using ingredients from the farm so is there cohesiveness with the kitchen,” McMahon said.
McMahon said the 4-year-old farm is primed and ready to bring the freshness, noting that both Markert and sous chef John Kuespert — “our resident ‘seedhead,’” McMahon called him — have become integrally involved in the cultivation of the raw materials.
Markert said he’s already gotten his hands on kale, bok choy, beets, radishes, turnips, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, garlic and assorted herbs from the farm. But he is, perhaps, most excited about having people sink their teeth into his growing line of house-made charcuterie.
“We will have about four types of charcuterie at a time on the board” he predicted, listing ready-made portions of lomo, bresaola, soppresatta, lucchese, saucison sec coppa and lamb prosciutto as solid contenders for sampling now. He’s still working on another prosciutto — this one featuring Eastern Shore-raised white Yorkshire pigs — which he hopes to be sliding onto patrons’ plates in the near future.
Those who prefer foods with a little more temperature to them should be comforted by the likes of tagliatelle bolstered by oxtails and hazelnuts, braised lamb with rosemary gnocchi and roasted bone marrow (“One of my favorite to eat myself, as well as to create,” Markert shared) flanked by pickled pistachios.
McMahon, meanwhile, suggests everyone make sure to leave enough room for the house-made bananas foster “Twinkie.”