News & Politics

On the Menu: Cherry-Blossom-Inspired Dishes at Washington Restaurants

Washington’s cherry trees will soon explode into a riot of pink and white hues, just as they have for the past 97 years. To celebrate the return of these delicate blooms, many Washington restaurants are serving Japanese-inspired plates. Read on to see wha

Adour's textbook macaroons. Photograph by Chris Leaman

The macaroons—one of the restaurant’s signature sweets served to every diner at the end of each meal—are filled with cherry marmalade.

Aria Trattoria
At this downtown DC Italian dining room, chef Xavier DeShayes is serving a special dessert: almond-milk soup with cherry compote ($6).

Art and Soul
A Japanese-inspired three-course menu ($55) includes hamachi sashimi with citrus-radish salad, crispy rockfish in cherry-sake sauce, and green-tea cheesecake.

Asia Nine Bar & Lounge
Chef Rod Yotmanee is offering an à la carte menu featuring an edamame-and-cherry dumpling, a flower-shaped salmon-and-avocado roll, crispy fish with pik king, cherry sushi roll, and taro roti with sweet-cherry sauce. (Prices range from $5 to $20.)

Bangkok Joe’s
A three-course, prix fixe menu ($25.10 for lunch, $35.10 for dinner) includes a duck dumpling with cherry-wine sauce, salmon glazed in a cherry-miso sauce, and cherry-chocolate bread pudding for dessert.

Bistro Bis
Chef/owner Jeffrey Buben is serving a cherry-and-almond financière ($11.50) layered with cherry mousse, almond praline, morello cherry gelée, and Montmorency sauce.

BlackFinn American Saloon
For dinner, chef Michelle Giroux is offering baby-back pork ribs in a cherry glaze ($12.99 half-rack, $19.99 full rack). And for dessert, there’s a sour-cherry cobbler ($6.99).

B. Smith’s
This Southern-accented restaurant is serving a three-course menu ($25 for lunch, $35 for dinner), including salad greens with sun-dried cherries and blood-orange vinaigrette, seared salmon with a cherry-port glaze, filet mignon with shiitake mushrooms, and cherry-apricot cobbler with vanilla ice cream.


This Alexandria cafe/bakery is baking special cherry-blossom cupcakes (devil’s-food cake with cream-cheese frosting) for $2.75, as well as an eight-inch version for $35. There’s also cherry-almond granola ($4.95) and cherry cheesecake ($4.95).

Café Dupont
To celebrate the blooms, chef Silvan Kramer is offering a $48 three-course menu, featuring foie-gras pâté with cherry chutney, a slow-roasted venison loin with cherry demi-glace, and cherry crème brûlée with caramelized white chocolate for dessert.

Charlie Palmer Steak
Slow-braised pork cheeks are served with preserved cherries and cauliflower ($28).

Circle Bistro
Chef Ethan McKee is serving sour-cherry cobbler ($8).

Chef/owner Michel Richard is cooking up magic by turning white sablefish red—the fish is marinated in beet juice and served with beet polenta ($30). For dessert, there's cherry cupcakes dipped in chocolate and served with red cappuccino ($12).

Co Co. Sala
At this Penn Quarter cocoa lounge, a special dessert is on the menu: a chocolate/cherry financière with cherry gelato and a cherry-yogurt bonbon ($12).

This British gastropub is serving a cherry-flavored ice-cream sandwich ($8) made with two chocolate cookies, house-made vanilla ice cream, and fresh Bing cherries.

Cure Bar & Bistro
At this three-tiered restaurant and lounge located inside DC’s Grand Hyatt, chef Kevin Villalovos is serving a three-course menu ($35), which includes a salad with cherry-balsamic vinaigrette, pork osso buco with sun-dried-cherry gremolata, and deep-fried cherry pie with goat-cheese ice cream. Plus, there are complimentary oatmeal-cherry cookies to take home.

Chef/owner Dean Gold offers petto d’anatra: seared duck breast on farro salad with a cherry-prosciutto glaze ($22).

District Line Restaurant + Bar
Situated inside the Hilton Washington hotel, this contemporary American eatery is serving a griddled chocolate cupcake with French cherries and cherry-blossom ice cream ($7).

Farmers & Fishers

On the menu at this Georgetown dining room is a crispy-skin duck breast with cherry demi-glace ($16).

Founding Farmers
This eco-bistro in DC’s Foggy Bottom is serving chocolate-cherry French toast ($10) as well as a cherry-blossom purse pastry with vanilla ice cream ($9) for dessert. 

Georgia Brown’s
An à la carte menu includes frisée salad with shrimp, blue cheese, and cherry vinaigrette ($10); a grilled rack of lamb with sour-cherry gastrique ($32); and for dessert, chocolate-cherry cobbler with house-made cherry ice cream ($10).

Chef William McCormick is offering endive salad with dried cherries, toasted walnuts, blue cheese, chives, and cherry vinaigrette ($7.95).

Harry’s Tap Room
Both the Clarendon and Pentagon City locations are serving duck confit with cherry gastrique ($12) and cherry cheesecake glazed with dulce de leche ($6).

The Heights

Head to Columbia Heights for Bing-cherry gratin ($6.95) stewed with fresh cherries and topped with oats and sugar. The dish is served with sour-cream ice cream.

Hudson Restaurant & Lounge
This Dupont Circle restaurant is serving cherry gelato with shortbread cookies and cherry dust ($7).

Ici Urban Bistro
Chef Philippe Piel’s three-course menu ($39) offers a choice of duck-confit pastilla with cherry marmalade or baby-spinach salad with dried cherries; farm-raised chicken with cherry-pepper sauce or almond-crusted salmon with arugula; and cherry crème brûlée for dessert.

Il Mulino
This Italian kitchen is turning out a three-course menu ($25 for lunch, $35 for dinner) offering salad with cherry vinaigrette; roasted duck with dried-cherry marinade, wild rice, and cherry sauce; and cherry cheesecake for dessert.

J&G Steakhouse
Shuffle over to this white-walled steakhouse for Madai sashimi ($12) with floral-infused cherries and cilantro, as well as crackling cherry pie ($8), sprinkled with Pop Rocks and served with a side of almond sorbet. The pie is also available at the hotel's POV Rooftop Lounge.

Jackson 20
Old Town’s Jackson 20 is serving plates of a cherry-wood-smoked barbecue beef brisket with roasted red potatoes and green-bean salad ($25).


José Andrés’s Spanish small-plates spot is serving gazpacho de cerezas, a chilled Spanish soup of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, with fresh cherries and sherry vinegar ($6.50).

J. Paul’s
At this Georgetown saloon, an à la carte menu offers oven-baked Brie wrapped with pastry and cherry marmalade ($12); a bourbon-molasses pork chop with dried-cherry wild rice ($17); and for dessert, a double-chocolate profiterole stuffed with cherry-vanilla ice cream ($7).

This modern-American dining room, set inside the Fairmont hotel, offers a $39 three-course menu, including spring greens with dried cherries and toasted walnuts; pan-seared halibut with cherry-infused hollandaise; and for dessert, chocolate-cherry mousse with pistachio ice cream and sour-cherry compote.

Kaz Sushi Bistro
Kaz Okochi’s downtown sushi spot offers a cherry-blossom bento box with clam soup and cherry panna cotta ($35).

Kellari Taverna
This Greek restaurant in downtown DC is getting into the cherry-blossom spirit with Greek yogurt laden with sour-cherry preserves, walnuts, and honey ($7.95).

Kemble Park Tavern
A $38 three-course menu includes grilled Japanese eggplant, seared salmon with citrus-ginger dressing, teriyaki-glazed hanger steak with cabbage slaw, grilled rockfish with baby bok choy, fried tofu and steamed rice, and a jubilee dessert with flambé cherries and vanilla-bean ice cream.

Lebanese Taverna
A rosemary-infused rack of lamb with a Morello cherry-wine reduction is served with whole-wheat burghul pilaf and a fava-bean-and-tomato medley ($28).

Legal Sea Foods
All four area locations are offering a decadent chocolate-cherry bread pudding ($5.95).

Lima Restaurant & Lounge
This Latin kitchen is serving a cherry-inspired tiradito, a Peruvian version of carpaccio ($14).

Logan Tavern
Grilled chicken is stuffed with pecans, dried cranberries, and Gorgonzola for this cherry-blossom-inspired dish. It’s served with mashed potatoes and a cherry reduction ($17.95).

The Majestic
This Old Town eatery is serving cherry bread pudding ($7.50) and housemade black-cherry soda ($3).

Chef James Claudio is offering rabbit terrine with cherry preserves ($9).

M Bar
Chef John Therres is serving a cherry-jubilee shortcake ($7)—two chocolate shortcakes filled with vanilla-bean ice cream and soaked in a pool of cherries.

At this new Turkish restaurant, chef Ed Witt is serving pan-roasted duck breast with lentils and cherry sauce ($14).

Notti Bianche
Spicy coppa salami with cherry-and-mustard relish and crusty bread is on the menu at this Foggy Bottom trattoria ($12).

At this Mediterranean grill, an à la carte menu includes duck manti with dried cherries and yogurt ($13); baby-arugula salad with cherries and sumac vinaigrette ($7); and pan-roasted grouper with dried cherries and saffron fingerling potatoes ($22).

Old Glory BBQ
Vidalia-onion rings—battered in Samuel Adams cherry-wheat beer—are served with a sweet-and-sour cherry dip ($8). Buffalo wings are served with bourbon-soaked cherries ($9), and a filet of salmon is glazed with cherry cola and served with cheddar-cheese grits ($16).

Look for a cherry-cured Alaskan-salmon sashimi with jasmine rice. It’s served with a cherry-sake float ($12 appetizer, $23

Paolo’s Ristorante
An à la carte menu includes a cherry-and-almond crostada with goat-cheese gelato ($8); Taleggio risotto with dried cherries ($8 appetizer, $13 entrée); rosemary-cherry pappardelle with smoked prosciutto ($10 appetizer, $17 entrée); and cherry-balsamic-glazed chicken with baby bok choy ($18). 

Chef Bryan Moscatello is serving smoked-duck arancini with cherry aïoli ($9) as well as cinnamon-dusted bombolini with confettura.

PS 7’s
This Penn Quarter dining room is serving cherry-wood-smoked pork belly with cherry gastrique ($12).

Chef Ris Lacoste’s paprika-crusted Muscovy duck is dressed with sweet-and-sour cherry sauce and candied orange, and it’s served with almond wild rice and caramelized endive ($28).

Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center
A roast pork loin is served with sweet-potato purée and rainbow swiss chard ($29). Chocolate brioche and English-toffee bread pudding is paired with cherry gelato ($11).

Chef Cliff Wharton’s three-course tasting menu offers a pan-seared scallop with cherry sambal and garden salad; foie gras with bacon-cherry jam; sea bass with cherry chutney; and for dessert, a warm chocolate-chip-cookie bar with cherry-vanilla ice cream. The menu costs $35, or $55 with beverage pairings.

Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place
You can get cherry-glazed salmon with dried-cherry-and-saffron rice ($26) at this Georgetown restaurant.

Trummer’s on Main
This Clifton dining room is offering smoked Muscovy duck served with a maitake-mushroom salad drizzled in cherry-leaf vinaigrette ($14). For dessert, there’s a cherry-blossom panna cotta with yuzu sorbet ($9).

Tuscana West
At this white-tablecloth dining room, the menu includes pan-seared duck breast with dried cherries in port demi-glace, served with sun-dried tomato polenta and sautéed spinach ($22). For dessert, there’s ciliegio cotto ($18).

Chef Alex Bollinger’s roasted lamb is served with celery-root purée and cherry-and-lamb jus ($28).

Chef R.J. Cooper is offering cherry pie with cherry-brandy ice cream, cherry gelée, and brown-butter emulsion ($11.50).

This Latin/Asian restaurant is offering a seared-snapper tiradito with white-soy-and-cherry sauce ($12); smoked-duck salad drizzled with cherry-and-ponzu vinaigrette ($14); and slow-roasted pork belly with spicy yuzu-and-cherry salsa ($21).

There’s always sushi at this modern-Asian restaurant, but if you’re looking for something hot, the chicken dumplings—garnished with almonds and cherries—are served with sweet-and-sour sauce and can be ordered as an appetizer ($10) or entrée ($20).

At this swank Penn Quarter dining room lined with red-velvet booths, chef Bryan Moscatello offers cherry-braised short ribs with pea tendrils and foie-gras emulsion ($22). For dessert, there’s popcorn sweet breads with cherry sweet-and-sour sauce ($11).

Zola Wine & Kitchen
The more casual sister of the upscale Zola, this kitchen’s lunch menu includes game-hen salad with shaved carrots, fennel, cherry-honey gastrique, and egg yolk ($12). 

>> See the 2010 Cherry Blossom Guide here