With cherry blossom fever in full swing, restaurants across the city are hyping up the buzz about the bright pink bud with themed offerings.
While many restaurants offer a special cherry blossom-themed dish or two, the Best of the Harvest, included here, offers full menus and pop-ups on tap with options ranging from the celebratory Moon Rabbit menu cherry blossom pink trout at a cherry-blossom brunch on a patio set up like a forest of Japanese cherry trees at Casta’s.
Peak flowering is scheduled for March 22-25.
This running guide features cherry blossom-themed meals all over town. Stay tuned for updates.
Launching a new dinner format for the popular annual event, the DC Cherry Blossom Festival’s Pink Tie Party will be a seated affair for 400 attendees. After dinner, the dance floor opens with live entertainment. The dress code for the April 28 event (6:30-10:30 p.m.) is fancy pink attire. Tickets, available here, are $250 per person. (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW)
Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr. Lyan) of Silver Lyan, the underground cocktail bar inside Riggs, teams up with NYC’s Masa Urushido for the first time Japanese-American cheeky bar Katana Kitten for a weekend pop-up only, from March 31 to April 2. The menu includes highballs like Ume Rickey (Haku vodka, jasmine sour soda, double ume), specialty cocktails like milk and cookies (Roku gin, Buddha’s hand, matcha whey, senbei), and snacks like nori fries and mortadella katsu sando on milk bread with tonkatsu and dijon sauce. All prices are a la carte. Reservations available here. (900 F Street NW)
The energetic Dirty Habit of the Hotel Monaco is hosting a Sakura Season Cherry Night on March 31 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The menu includes yakatori and specialty cocktails enjoyed to the beat of DJ Eddo. See the menu and RSVP here. (555 8th Street NW)
Casta’s Rum Bar, the bustling, plant-filled West End rum bar known for transporting drinkers to Cuba, will instead transport them to the cherry blossom forests of Japan this spring. From March 20 to April 17, Casta’s will decorate its closed terrace with a cherry blossom decor. A special cherry blossom menu will also be offered. On April 3, Casta’s Petal Palooza Brunch Party will feature a DJ and plenty of mojitos and food specials. Tickets for Petal Palooza are free, but will be available on Eventbrite. A portion of every frozen cocktail purchased for both events will be donated to the Cherry Blossom Foundation. (1121 New Hampshire Avenue NW)
The popular stunner on the roof of the Washington Hotel, VUE, hosts a Japanese whiskey dinner April 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., with a three-course meal and pairings from High Road Spirits. Each step of the menu is inspired by traditional Japanese ingredients and dishes, such as green tea rickey and shiitake-crusted cod. Dinner is $150 per person. Reservations and full menu is available on Tock. (515 15th Street NW)
The revamped Pembroke offers a prix-fixe dinner special ($75) with watercress and arugula salad (recon dried cherries, toasted slivered almonds, goat cheese, and herb vinaigrette); duck breast (couscous, black cherry and tarragon duck juice); and panna cotta cherry brandy sauce. Special cocktails include the Fleur de Geisha Green Tea Sakura Bloom cocktail ($18) as well as a non-alcoholic version of the same cocktail ($14). A flight of Japanese Sakura Bloom whiskey includes three one-ounce installments of Hibiki Suntory 12 Year Old, Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Old, and Yamazaki 12 Year Old ($40). Reservations available here. (1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW)
In DC’s Wharf area, Kevin Tien prepares a special cherry blossom menu at Moon Rabbit that features Sakura masu, also known as cherry blossom trout, which is pink like flowers. Dates and prices are to come. (801 Wharf Street SW)