When our city blooms pink and white, restaurants can’t help but become part of the celebration. Every year, many add something cherry-blossom-inspired to their menus. Last week, we got a chance to nibble on the offerings at a tasting preview at Asia Nine. Our favorites? We liked Palette’s appetizer of cured salmon with Bing cherries and its Champagne/cherry/sake float. TenPenh’s hamachi sashimi and Ahi-tuna tartare served with cherry/soy vinaigrette was the perfect pairing of salty and sweet flavors. And don’t miss the cherry-flavored pink macaroons that are currently winding down meals at Adour.
Interested in sampling some yourself? Here’s what restaurants are offering during the two-week festival.
The complimentary macaroons offered after each meal turn cherry-flavored.
Cherry pie ($8) is reimagined as an almond fruitcake with cherries.
Art and Soul
The Cherry Blossom cocktail ($10) is a refreshing mix of St. Germaine liqueur, sparkling rose, and cherry reduction.
A three-course, prix-fixe menu ($25.09 at lunch, $35.09 at dinner) offers a smoked-shrimp dumpling with cherry-lime cream sauce; broiled salmon filet with a spicy-cherry/basil sauce; and warm cherry custard. There will also be frozen cherry bellinis ($8).
Beacon Bar & Grill
Beacon Hotel, 1715 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-872-1126.
This eclectic American restaurant is serving an appetizer of a cherry wonton with a short rib and ginger sauce ($12). A cherry martini ($5) is made with Monin cherry syrup and a splash of St. Germaine.
This Southern-themed restaurant is serving a spring garden salad with sun-dried cherries and candied walnuts ($9); grilled pork tenderloin with a sweet cherry glaze ($28); and chocolate-cherry tuxedo cake ($9).
Dessert is a miniature chocolate-coated cone with warm cherry-and-Kirsch compote, cherry sorbet, and Minus 8 vinegar ($8).
Domaso Trattoria Moderna
This Italian spot’s chocolate-cherry napoleon is layered with dark chocolate, sweet and sour cherries, and a light cherry mousse ($8). The Bubbly Blossom cocktail ($11) is a mix of Prosecco and Campari poured over orange zest, topped with cherries, and garnished with a candied orange slice.
Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, 3100 South St., NW; 202-912-4110.
The prix-fixe dinner menu ($49) includes a choice of scallion-and-cilantro miso soup or ahi tuna with seaweed; sea bass with lemongrass/ginger broth or beef teriyaki with vegetables and rice; and warm cherry-chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream or cherry clafoutis.
Hotel Madera, 1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW; 202-861-1310.
This casual Modern American restaurant near Dupont Circle is featuring two special cocktails. The Sakura ($12.50) is cherry vodka, elderflower liquor, fresh grapefruit, and white wine; the Cherry Bomb ($9) blends cherry brandy with sparkling wine. Hanami Ale ($6), a Smuttynose Brewery seasonal beer made from cherry juice, is also on offer.
Fyve Restaurant Lounge
The Ritz’s dining room will offer a cherry parfait ($15) with layers of foie-gras mousse, Amarena-cherry marmalade, Meyer-lemon cream, and toasted almond.
950 15th St., NW; 202-393-4499
Ma Brown’s bourbon-and-chocolate cherry cobbler ($9.95) is a cherry compote with oatmeal-and-sugar topping, brandy-orange infusion, and cherry-vanilla ice cream.
The Grille at Morrison House
An appetizer of cherrywood-and-tea-smoked duck breast with frisée-and-cherry-blossom salad in a cherry vinaigrette ($16) will be on the menu.
Hudson Restaurant and Lounge
This West End comfort-food spot will offer a bitter-chocolate marquise with semifreddo and sour cherries ($10).
A three-course special menu includes a choice of house-made sausage with cherry/red-wine demi-glace ($10) or pan-seared scallops with almond-cherry chutney ($12); slow-roasted Cornish hen with roasted-cherry-and-apple hash and brandy-cherry reduction ($20) or braised beef cheeks with dark-cherry-and-port sauce ($24); and cherry cheesecake with dark chocolate and brandy-cherry marmalade ($9), or pot de crème with cherry gelée and a vanilla tuile ($9).
Westin Hotel, 2080 Jamieson Ave., Alexandria; 703-253-8640.
This hotel restaurant is serving a cherry float ($5)—house-made dark-cherry soda poured over crème-fraîche ice cream.
3218 M St., NW; 202-333-3450.
Baked Brie with cherry marmalade and a crispy flatbread ($12) is on the menu at this Georgetown saloon.
Fairmont Washington D.C., 2401 M St., NW; 202-429-2400.
A special four-course menu ($45) features duck prosciutto, dried cherries, and pistachios; Champagne/cherry-blossom sorbet; cherry-wood-smoked salmon with braised lentils and cherry/balsamic vinaigrette; and white-chocolate/cherry mousse with cherry preserves. Specialty cocktails ($14 each) include a cherry margarita and cherry cosmopolitan.
The Penn Quarter branch of this tapas spot is serving a special cherry-inspired sangría ($3.50 per glass; $15 per pitcher) made with triple sec, brandy, white wine, fresh cherries, and cherry liqueur.
A chocolate-cherry jubilee shortcake is stuffed with vanilla ice cream ($7 or free with any entrée).
The Melting Pot
1220 19th St., NW; 202-857-0777.
This fondue restaurant is offering a dessert of crushed Amarena cherries and dark chocolate with a variety of cakes and fruit for dipping ($15 for a two-person serving, $30 for four).
The cherry-gingersnap martini ($8) is made with ginger liqueur, Champagne, and cherries.
Mie N Yu
3125 M St., NW; 202-333-6122.
The cherry-blossom cocktail at this fanciful Asian restaurant in Georgetown is made with grape vodka, sour mix, and cherry-infused plum wine ($10).
M Street Bar & Grill
2033 M St., NW; 202-530-3621.
A delicate purse of cherries and Brie is served warm with cherry-pecan sauce ($7).
1305 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6353.
A cherry-blossom martini is made with cherry-infused vodka ($10).
Old Glory BBQ
1305 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-3406.
Cherry-cola barbecue sauce bastes the grilled St. Louis ribs ($10).
Oya Restaurant & Lounge
A Think Pink flight of rosé offers a choice of three or four pink wines from Italy, Spain, and Virginia ($12 for three, $16 for four).
The cherry-cured wild Alaskan salmon sashimi is topped with Bing cherries and paired with a Champagne-sherry-sake float with a small scoop of cherry sorbet ($11).
Cherry vinaigrette dresses a spinach salad tossed with honey-soaked cippoline onions, Gorgonzola dolce, and dried cherries ($8).
The Cerise en Fleur ($11)—made with cherry vodka, shochu, St. Louis Kriek, aloe vera, and lemon—is a refreshing cocktail that’s not too syrupy.
Leon Baker’s dessert menu includes a cherry-chocolate linzertorte with tangerine granita, orange-blossom liquid, and chocolate crumbles ($9).
Roof Terrace Restaurant
The Kennedy Center’s dining room is serving an entrée of duck with Swiss chard, herb-crusted red fingerlings, and black-cherry reduction ($28).
Four cherry-inspired Mexican sushi dishes ($7 to $8) include a traditional tuna roll with avocado and a cherry/pasilla-pepper/yogurt sauce; cherry-glazed salmon sashimi with cascabel chilies, salmon roe, and orange; rice topped with jumbo lump crab, avocado, and cherry/guajillo sauce; and shrimp tempura with cherry/ancho reduction. A sparkling cherry-infused margarita ($11) is also on the menu.
Taberna del Alabardero
Famous for its Spanish tapas, this downtown DC dining room is serving a dish of smoked cream cheese topped with port-marinated cherry mousse ($11).
The four-course, prix-fixe dinner menu ($35; $55 with a wine-and-sake pairing) includes hamachi sashimi and ahi-tuna tartare with seaweed salad and cherry-soy vinaigrette; grilled octopus with frisée salad and mango purée; shiso salmon with rice salad, cherries, and a vegetable roll; and a cherry-almond roti turnover.
The Sakura martini ($5) is made with Bing-cherry infused sake and sour-cherry purée.
The dessert menu includes chocolate-brioche-and-English-toffee bread pudding with Bing cherries and cherry gelato ($10).
Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro
11750 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston; 703-234-3550.
The dessert menu includes cherry clafouits with vanilla ice cream and port reduction ($7).
This Latin/Asian restaurant is offering Kobe-beef spring rolls with jalapeño-cherry chutney ($14); ancho-dusted halibut with miso-cherry broth ($24); cherry-glazed crispy pork ($21); and white-chocolate/cherry tart ($9).