Area Eateries Offer Food & Drink Specials
It is cherry blossom season and the 3,000 Japanese Cherry trees that Tokyo Mayor Ozaki gave to the city in 1912 are currently in peak bloom. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, which honors this gift, runs through Apr. 17. And as any area resident knows, there aren’t any restaurants or bars at the tidal basin. Here are some food and drink specials that we’ve cherry-picked for you to enjoy before or after your visit to the blossoms or one of the many festival activities. Unless otherwise noted, the specials run through the end of the festival.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, 1308 G St. NW and 7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, will sell a vanilla doughnut with cherry filling ($3.25). The vanilla bean cream cheese glaze is adorned with a cherry blossom design, which features cherry puree mixed with buttercream for the flowers and a chocolate stem.
On Thursday, Apr. 14, BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW, will host a Japanese whisky dinner featuring a cocktail and hand-selected pairings alongside a four-course menu ($200). The dinner, in the restaurant’s private dining room, begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Editor’s Note: The date was originally listed at Apr. 13 due to an incorrect press release.
Hawthorne, 1336 U St. NW, is serving pan seared duck with cherry confit ($22), featuring farmhouse-cured duck “bacon,” butter beans and Brussels sprouts topped with port wine sauce and dried cherry confit.
The Layfayette in the Hay-Adams Hotel, 800 16th St. NW, is celebrating the cherry blossoms with a Japanese-inspired three-course, pre-fixe dinner priced at $70 through Apr. 17. The meal begins with an amuse-bouche with cherry Kir Royal, followed by first course options such as spring vegetable salad with kabocha squash puree and matcha tea powder or yellowfin tuna tartar with smoked avocado and quail egg. Entrees include caramelized Chilean sea bass with seaweed salad, pickled radish, miso and brown butter sauce or nori-wrapped black angus strip steak with steamed Japanese eggplant, matsutake mushroom and plum wine reduction. Dessert includes caramelia chocolate panna cotta with cherry marmalade and griottines. Also, from 4-5 p.m. each day of the festival, executive pastry chef Josh Short will be on hand to meet and greet guests in the hotel’s lobby sharing complimentary chocolate and cherry macaroons as he builds a cherry blossom macaroon tree.
Maki Shop, 1522 14th St. NW, is serving a Spring Blossom sushi hand roll ($5.40) through May. It is made with tofu, pickled watermelon radish, cherry-infused vinegar seasoned rice, mitsubs (Japanese wild parsley) and a pink soy sheet.
Through the end of March, Milk Bar, 1009 I St. NW, showcases its cherry rose cookie ($2.25), which consists of freeze-dried cherries, milk crumbs and rose water essence with a layer of dusted cherries on top.
NKD Pizza, 933 N. Quincy St., Ballston, 1101 S. Joyce St. #27, Pentagon City, 1363 Chain Bridge Road, McLean and 1675 Reston Pkwy., Reston, is serving a Cherry Blossom pizza ($20 for 14-inch) topped with a combination of sweet and savory ingredients like dark sweet cherries, garlic infused olive oil, mozzarella, pulled pork, hoisin sauce and spring greens.
During April, Occidental Grill & Seafood, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is serving dishes and drinks starring cherries. Sip on tart Cherry Rickeys made with Old Forester Bourbon, lime, house-made cherry syrup and Fever Tree soda water, all month long. During Thursday dinner service through April, cherries will be served in historic dishes, transforming “porks and beans” into a Cheerwine-braised pork belly appetizer and accenting lamb chops with mint jelly and cherry gel. Finish on a sweet note with a cherry fennel pollen-scented crisp, topped with cream cheese ice cream.
All three locations of Pizzeria Paradiso, 2003 P St. NW, 3282 M St. NW and 124 King St., Alexandria, is offering a specialty pizza through Apr. 4, featuring cherry cream sauce, onions, roasted mushrooms, dried cherries, cheese, parsley and prosciutto (9-inch for $14, 12-inch for $21). There will be a cherry tiramisu, too.
Ted’s Bulletin, 1818 14th St. NW, 505 Eighth St. SE, 220 Ellington Blvd., Gaithersburg, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax and 11948 Market St., Reston, will be baking seasonal cherry limeade Ted’s Tarts ($3.99) to celebrate cherry blossom season. The pastries will be available through the duration of the festival
Tryst, 2458 18th St. NW, will sell a cherry almond waffle ($10.50) topped with a cherry cardamom sauce, sliced almonds and almond whipped cream through the end of April.
Acadiana, 901 New York Ave. NW, is serving black cherry punch, a combination of Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry-infused bourbon, Combier cherry liqueur and simple syrup splashed with club soda.
BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW, is offering a flight of four Japanese whiskies ($80). The flight includes 1-ounce tastings of Hakushu 12 year, Hibiki 17 year, the house-made BLT Steak Wagyu Whisky and Nikka Coffee Whisky.
Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is serving the Bacon Blossom, a savory take on Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. The natural spice notes of bacon- and cherry-infused Lot No. 40 rye whiskey get an extra kick from cinnamon syrup and Tabasco.
Brasserie Beck, 1101 K St. NW, is offering the Cherry Blossom Fizz, comprised of Ketel One Vodka, Liefmans Cherry Beer and lemon juice.
Café Dupont inside the Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW, and its sister Bar Dupont are mixing up some special cherry blossom cocktails including the Blood and Sand made with cherry herring and a barrel-aged Cherry Manhattan, as well as the Blossom, concocted with Barr Hill Gin, lime, pomegranate molasses and prosecco. The almond cherry cello ($10), is a sweet, slightly nutty drink.
The Chaplin, 1501 Ninth St. NW, is serving a Cherry Blossom Bomb ($5) through Apr. 17, which pairs a pint of Kirin Ichiban beer with a shot of pink Sakura Emaki Rose Sake. There are also two beer-centric cocktails ($8): Bread Soda combines Kirin with Bulleit bourbon, lemon and a maple-ginger syrup, and is served with a Kirin ginger cake topped with cardamom caramel. Honzo’s Steel involves Nolet’s gin, Japanese Tozai plum cordial and lemon with a orange blossom/honey/Kirin sauce.
The Columbia Room, 124 Blagden Alley NW, is serving a spring cocktail menu through May that is inspired by the flavors of Japan. The five-course menu begins with Cherry Blossom Tea, which includes a pickled cherry-blossom flower suspended in a glass of malty Mizu shochu and apricot liqueur, while the regular menu kicks off with 1873, a spin on a Japanese cocktail made with pisco and matcha tea whisked into the glass. The highlight is I Never Promised You a Zen Garden, a red-shiso-infused sake cocktail with Kokuto Umeshu, a rum-like spirit made with sugar cane and plums, vermouth and the French aperitif Suze. It arrives in a “Zen Garden” of plum sugar, accompanied by a wooden rake, so customers can trace patterns in the sugar as they sip. Reservations are required. Three cocktails paired with food are $75, five course is $100.
District Chophouse, 509 Seventh St. NW, has brewed its annual Cherry Blossom Fest ($6.50 per glass), a strong wheat lager that uses more than one pound of cherry puree per gallon of beer. The cherry purees are a mix of tart and dark and sweet, making for a beer that’s sharp and interesting on the palate, rather than a sugary dessert beer.
District Commons, 2200 Washington Circle NW, is offering the Cherry Collins, a rendition of the classic Tom Collins cocktail made with 44 North Rainer cherry organic vodka and sweetened lemon juice finished with a pop of sparkling water and a house-made maraschino cherry.
Off The Record Bar in the Hay-Adams Hotel, 800 16th St. NW, is serving the Off The Record Blossom ($16) made with Hendricks gin, maraschino liquor, lemon juice, crème de violette liquor and garnished with a limoncello marinated cherry.
Marcel’s, 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is serving The Cherry-Berry Caipirinha, made with house-made cherry-ginger syrup and cherry-blackberry-basil shrub along with Cachaça, lime and sugar.
PassionFish, 7187 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, is offering a few special cocktails including Sakura Viewing made with Plymouth gin, lime juice and grapefruit juice; the Cherry Blossom Cordial spiked tea made with cherry blossom tea, vodka, brandy and sugar; and the Weeping Cherry Manhattan/Far-East Side Story combining Snow Shadow sake, Cherry Heering Liqueur, Cointreau, lime juice, a splash of grenadine, Fee Brothers’ cherry bitters and garnished with a fluff of cotton candy.
Penn Commons, 700 Sixth St. NW, is offering the Late Bloomer, a concoction of Leopold’s Michigan Cherry Liqueur, Leopold’s Maraschino Liqueur and Prosecco.
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.