Eateries Celebrate Cherry Blossom Festival
From Mar. 20-Apr. 12, Washington welcomes the 103rd anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Area restaurants are showing their support by serving creative cherry-inspired cocktails and dishes.
The Alex at the Graham Georgetown Hotel, 1075 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, is serving a $7 Cherry Graham with brandied cherries and rum along with brand-soaked cherries flambed tableside for $8.
Ambar, 523 8th St. SE, is showcasing a kajmak bar featuring spicy crab, blue cheese and cured salmon served with crispy lavash chips for $12. It is also serving a Podgorica, grappa rakia, aji Amarillo, passion fruit, mango and lime for $12.
Art and Soul at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel, 415 New Jersey Ave. NW, is offering a picnic lunch for two featuring featuring fried chicken, biscuits, coleslaw, potato salad, cookies and cherry soda for $40. Cocktail fans can sip cherry-inspired drinks at the bar.
America Eats Tavern, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, is offering planked shad served with celery root puree, fermented radish, pea shoot, Virginia ham air and cured shad roe and the Clover Club cocktail made with gin, raspberries, lemon, simple syrup and egg white.
Barmini, 855 E St. NW, is offering several new springtime cocktails including Essential Pollen made with honey vodka, lemon, chamomile, egg white, Aroma Therapy with gin, lemon, vermouth blanc, lavender and soda; and Starkling with vodka, St. Germain, lemon, simple syrup, star fruit and sparkling wine all priced at $12. Also, the Juana Giallo made with yellow and green chartreuse, galiano, saffron, orange, orange blossom, cream and egg; the Dark Side of the Moon with Old Tom gin, crème de violette, lemon, simple syrup, egg white, citrus and hay ash; and Nasturtium Garden with nasturtium gin, aloe liqueur and lemon all priced at $14. And the Violette Fizz with crème de violette, cream, gin and lemon for 16.
Bibiana Osteria Enoteca, 1100 New York Ave. NW, is serving the Amarena cherry mini cannoli for $10.
Blue Duck Tavern, 1201 24th St. NW, is offering up a special cherry quina cocktail. Priced at $14, it is made with Plymouth gin, house-made cherry tonic syrup, Bittercube cherry bark bitters, Luxardo maraschino liqueur and topped with club soda.
Bourbon Steak, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is offering a special cocktail called Jido with a mix of gin and house-made calpis (a fermented milk beverage) poured over a hibiscus ice sphere infused with orange flower water and lemon juice for $16.
City Tap House, 901 9th St. NW, is offering an appetizer of roasted foie gras terrine with almond crumble, black cherry jam and arugula for $18; and entrée of Muscovy duck breast with charred spring onion, sun chokes, tart cherry gastrique, and parmesan gnocchi for $28; and a dessert of cherry clafoutis with vanilla, kirsch and chocolate gelato priced at $9. At the bar, five of the tap lines will pour Hitachino Nest Beer out of Japan.
Copperwood Tavern, 4021 Campbell Ave, Shirlington, is serving a Cherry Collins made with maraschino cherry infused moonshine, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and soda garnished with cherry and lemon and served in highball glass for $11.
Daikaya, 705 6th St. NW, is serving cherry blossom rice, a house-made caramel with salted cherry blossoms and the Hanami, persimmon-infused shōchū with salted cherry blossom foam. Dishes are priced between $3 and $5 each, and the cocktail is $14.
DBGB Kitchen and Bar, 931 H St. NW, is celebrating with a duck pistachio paté and a sakura ganache with green tea, yuzu and cherry. It is also offering The Fairchild with gin, maraschino liqueur, yuzu and cherry blossom essence.
DC Coast Restaurant, 1401 K St. NW, is featuring the District Cherry Old Fashioned as well as a house-made cherry blossom tea.
El Centro D.F., 1819 14th St. NW and 1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW are offering pork carnitas with slow-roasted pork shoulder, guacamole, pickled onion habanero salsa and charro beans for $16, as well as chicken zarape made with bacon, panela cheese, cotija cheese, pico de gallo chipotle sauce, crema fresca and creamy white rice for $17. A cherry blossom margarita, made from a combination of hibiscus infused blanco, cherry simple syrup, house-made sour mix and fresh lime is priced at $12.
Jaleo, 480 7th St. NW, 7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda and 2250A Crystal Dr., Arlington is offering the Spanish Garden cocktail made with gin, chrysanthemum syrup, orange jam, lemon juice and green chartreuse. They are also offering cherry-inspired dishes including queso murcia al vino tinto or “the drunken goat,” murcia cheese with cherry marmalade and toasted bread; salmón a la plancha con puré de coliflor y cerezas, seared salmon with cauliflower purée and cherries; panceta confitada con salsa de cereza, pork belly confit with cherry sauce; cordero a la brasa con salsa de cerezas “Santa Coloma de Cervello”, grilled lamb T-bones with cherry sauce; and sopa de frutas rojas con heladode queso, wild red berry soup with Idiazábal cheese ice cream.
The Layfayette at The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St. NW, is serving hamachi sashimi with shaved vegetables and wasabi aioli; crispy Berkshire pork belly with corn and vanilla puree, and carrot and white soy emulsion; caramel black cod with baby bok choi, pickled radish and miso mustard; and nori wrapped Wagyu strip steak with crushed edamame, morels and plum wine reduction. For dessert, the restaurant is offering morello cherry and pistachio financier with caramelized white chocolate ice cream.
Lincoln, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW, is serving cherries with gnocchi, donuts, salad or pulled pork sandwich, which features cherry mustard on a potato roll for $13.
Mango Tree, 929 H St. NW in CityCenterDC, is serving red curry with cherry glazed and roasted Jurgielewicz Farm duck breast served with plum and apricot for $28.
Mari Vanna, 1141 Connecticut Ave. NW, is offering a signature cherry blossom cocktail and cherry strudel as well as a house-infused cherry blossom shot, all for $5 each.
Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW, 20009, has a pork kushiage with miso BBQ, Japanese mustard and scallion for $9, as well as seafood okonomiyaki, cabbage pancakes with shrimp, squid, cabbage, mayonnaise, bonito flakes and nori for $11. Masa 14 is also serving Rosy Rickey made from a combination of bourbon, house-made cherry simple syrup, fresh lime and soda for $12.
Mio Restaurant, 1110 Vermont Ave. NW, is offering a variety of a la carte specials such as tiradito de chillo, snapper sashimi with candied kumquats, cherry and lime vinaigrette, and crystallized culantro; ensalada de burrata, burrata cheese, warm pancetta, cherry vinaigrette, heirloom tomatoes and focaccia croutons; camarones y vieira, pan seared scallops and crisp shrimp with smoked parsnip puree and a black cherry reduction; and mero crocante, phyllo grouper with butter poached fingerling potatoes and a Caribbean sour cherry emulsion. For dessert, there is dulce de acerola with reserved Caribbean cherry and brulée queso fresco or tarta cereza negra, black cherry cobbler. Prices range from $12-$35.
Nage Bistro, 1600 Rhode Island Ave. NW, is serving a festive ice cream sandwich made with a heirloom corn cookie and strawberry ice cream dusted with strawberry and mint for $10 and the Pink Pagoda, a cocktail of Rose, elderflower liqueur, champagne and rose water for $10.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar, 800 F St. NW, offers a special cherry blossom cocktail during this year’s festival. The Cherry Picker is made from a combination of rosemary-chocolate infused High West Oat vodka, red currant syrup, lime juice, cherry herring and rose flower water garnished with a brandy cherry and chervil. The cocktail is $12.
The Oval Room, 800 Connecticut Ave. NW, is serving a sashimi of stone bass from Japan with rose water gelee, sweet and sour rice with dried cherries topped with candied cherry blossoms from Japan for $15. Also, cherry infused ice cream with a chocolate cake garnished with kirsch cherries, candied cherry blossoms and toasted pistachios for $10. For the perfect pairing, try a Sakura Spritzers with Umeshu, New Amsterdam gin, rose water and mint leaves topped with sparkling wine for $12.
Oyamel, 401 7th St. NW, is offering cayo jarocho, plancha-seared scallops served with a plantain and roasted garlic fritter, fried plantains, blanched English peas, pea puree and pickled local tomato finished with pea shoots and a Worcestershire reduction.
Peregrine Espresso, 1309 5th St. in Union Market, is offering Sakura Black, a Japanese black tea blended with sweet sakura cherry blossom leaves and flowers.
Red Velvet Cupcakery, 505 7th St. NW and 11939 Democracy Dr. in Reston Town Center is offering a New York cheesecake cupcake with a graham cracker cake, cherry pie filling and whipped cream cheese topping from Mar. 20-26. From Mar. 27-Apr. 2, it will offer a cherry tart with an individual piecrust and almond cherry filling. The cupcakes are $3.25 each or $36 for a dozen.
Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW, is offering ramen with pork belly, enoki mushrooms and fish cakes, as well as panko-breaded crispy chicken. Finish your meal with a sake-tini. A complimentary cherry blossom-inspired punch tasting is offered daily from Mar. 12 to Apr. 16 at 5:30 p.m.
Sushiko, 5455 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chanse is offering the Madai Blossom with kombujime seabream, cherry gelée, cucumber, tomat, and melon water for $18.
Teddy & The Bully Bar, 1200 19th St. NW, is serving coffee-rubbed lamb loin made with cherry port reduction for $18 or a cherry clafoutis, a French version of a cherry pie, for $9.
Toro Toro, 1300 I St. NW, is offering its On the Run Exec Express lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday for $28. The restaurant is also offering cachapas, duck carnitas with corn pancakes, Oaxaca cheese and tomato jam for $10 and the Manhattan de Toro cocktail with Old Forester bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters brandied cherry for $12.
Zaytinya, 701 9th St. NW, is offering spring pea tzatziki made with pistachios, Greek yogurt and mint.
Zengo 781 7th St. NW, is featuring a dim sum lunch platter with miso soup, shrimp lo mein and a five-piece dim sum platter for $15. For dessert, a crema fresca mousse cake, made with seven graham cracker crust, yuzu marmalade and warm cherry compote is available for $7. Also, Zengo has created a Hanami cocktail made with bourbon, ginger syrup, cherry hibiscus chutney and fresh lemon juice for $12.
Zentan, 1155 14th St. NW, is offering takeout bento boxes with Scottish salmon with scallion or steak with shishito peppers, both served with onigiri rice balls on the side and a house-made cherry soda for $16.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.