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The Bitches Guide to Cherry Blossom Specials

Spring has sprung in the District, and that means the annual Cherry Blossom Festival follows. Perhaps the most exciting part of springtime in Washington, D.C., the annual observance of the fragrant florals began in 1912. Cherry blossoms were a gift of friendship to United States citizens from Japanese allies. In Japan, the blooming cherry tree, also known as “Sakura,” is an illustrious and flourishing vine.

Around the District, several restaurants and business are capitalizing on the nearly month-long celebration (and subsequent influx of tourists). From cocktails inspired by European countries to extended merriment at one of D.C.’s most extravagant hotels, the Bitches are breaking down how some of your favorite places are observing the annual tradition.

 

If you want your cherry blossoms with a Balkan twist: Ambar

Ambar3

Washington, D.C.’s first Balkan-themed restaurant has created their own cocktail to celebrate the festival. Available at their Barracks Row location, the Visnja Sour is made with cherry-infused rakia, lime juice, simple syrup infused with cherries, and a spritz of absinth, garnished with a cherry of course. The lush greenery throughout both locations are a playful ode to the Eastern European-inspired landscape, which creates a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for all patrons. The Clarendon location is offering April in Belgrade is made from a combination of cherry-infused plum rakia, Serbian cherry liquor, bourbon and angostura bitters, garnished with brandied cherries. Read our brunch review for the Barracks Row location here, and the Clarendon spot here.

Ambar Washington, D.C. : 523 8th St. S.E., Washington, D.C. (202) 813-3039

Clarendon: 2901 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA, (703) 875-9663

 

If you want cherry aromas in your appetizer, entree and dessert: Dyllan’s Raw Bar and Grill

The taste of cherry can be somewhat overpowering, however at Dyllan’s they’ve perfected the tart aftertaste but accompany it with with subtly sweet and savory notes on each plate. For $35, you can enjoy a prix fixe dinner from their special menu. Start your meal with a goat cheese and wild cherry tart, followed by Grilled Arctic Char with parsnip purée, green asparagus, spiced cherry sauce. For dessert, and satisfy your sweet tooth with a traditional vanilla cheesecake adorned with a cherry jubilee jam.

Dyllan’s Raw Bar and Grill 1054 31st St NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 470-6606

 

A picnic al fresco: Le Diplomate

The French-inspired eatery is celebrating the cherry blossoms with a new addition to their bread lineup, something Le Diplomate hasn’t done in six years. The Choco Pain aux Cerises is a crunchy Pain de Seigle loaded with Early Richmond Cherries, Valrhona chocolate chips and sprinkled with cocoa nibs. You won’t have the best view of the blossoms from their restaurant, so the staff is encouraging you take your Pain aux Cerises to go with a picnic basket fit for you and your significant other. In addition to the signature loaf, a homemade cherry moustarda, and an assortment of French cheeses including a brie de nangis with double creme will be available for purchase. Read our brunch review here.

Le Diplomate, 1604 14th St. NW, Washington D.C., (202) 332-3333

 

Afternoon tea with a cherry flair: Opaline

Sure, the origins of the annual festival trace back to Japanese roots. However, the Bitches have to give credit to Opaline. The brasserie has provided their own unique take on the observance, and it has British motifs. For $22, you can enjoy their Petite Cherry Blossom Tea spread, which also includes scones, lemon curd and clotted cream. Their impressive cocktail team also developed a palate pleasing beverage: the Fleur de Cerisier is made with Suntory Toki Whisky, cherry blossom tea, honey infused ice cubes, and soda. Read our brunch review here.

Opaline 806 15th St NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 730-8701

 

Cherries meet Italy: Osteria Morini

One of the more recognizable eateries in D.C., Osteria Morini is a premier spot if you’re craving hearty Italian plates. Thankfully, they too have jumped on the cherry blossom trend and one of their signature plates combine their housemade sorbet with prosecco to deliver a nod to the Japanese tradition but with an Italian edge. Cherry Lambrusco Sgroppino is simply bubbly prosecco poured over sweet cherry + Lambrusco sorbet. It’s not complicated, and it’s a delightful finish after indulging in gnocchi or branzino. Read our brunch review here.

Osteria Morini 301 Water St SE, Washington, D.C., (202) 484-0660

 

Cherry blossoms, but with an elegance of Swiss: Stable

Stable brand themselves as D.C.’s first Swiss-American restaurant, and their eclectic menu certainly hold true to that distinction. The space is exactly how you’d imagine the lodge of your favorite Swiss mountain top. Wood furnishings, comfortable decor with a back patio that contributes to the establishment’s casual vibe. To commemorate this year’s festival, Swiss is unveiling their own cocktail for enjoyment. Delight in the Cherroni (Cherry Negroni), which is concocted from a mix of stateside and Swiss liquors plus one addition that co-owner Silvan Kraemer developed in-house. Read our brunch review here.

Stable 1324 H St NE, Washington, D.C., (202) 733-4604

 

Extravagantly chic: Nobu

Nobu

Most identify Nobu as the primary spot celebrities flock to for a taste of some of the most finest seafood available in the country. A restaurant all too familiar with fans of the KarJenner family, Nobu’s D.C. location is just as swanky as one would assume. If indulgence is your aesthetic, flock to this West End eatery for a taste at how they celebrate the springtime blooms. Their signature plates include the Gambas Ume with dried cherry, Sakura salmon sashimi, and the Sakura blossom cocktail. The lavish decor inside is perfect for showing off, but the cozy garden patio is your best bet to absorb the intimate atmosphere ideal for partaking in such a deluxe meal. While no longer open for brunch, get a sample of what the Bitches had to say about Nobu here.

Nobu, 2525 M St NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 871-6565

 

A dream staycation: The St. Regis

Looking to commemorate the blossoms with more than just an afternoon tea or post-dinner treat? The St. Regis has you covered. The luxury hotel has a Getaway Package sure to entice any DMV resident to pack their bags for a couple nights of opulence. Rates start at $389 per night, and upon entry in every guest room they promise an ornate pink chocolate box filled with cherry truffles and a hand-painted chocolate cherry blossom branch. The lobby of the immaculate inn is exactly what you would expect: a “Japanese Zen Garden,” complete with a large cherry blossom tree made completely of dark chocolate, covered in nearly 300 handmade pink cherry blossom flowers, all encompassing the traditional Japanese torii that will greet guests as they walk through the doors.

The St. Regis, 923 16th And K Streets, N.W, Washington, D.C., (202) 638-2626

 

From the people who brought you the Christmas pop-up bar: Cherry Blossom PUB

Back for a third year, this pop-up bar is staple to D.C., which means you’ll have major FOMO if you miss out on your chance to experience the hype. The pub is back for a third year, and definitely better than ever. The cherry blossom G&T is a fun variation on the standard beverage, but don’t discount their other specially made cocktails. Ramen is the star of the food menu here, with options for both carnivores and vegans. An added bonus? They have a room that makes you feel like you’ve stepped in a bowl of ramen. The Instagram captions are forming in our heads as we speak.

Cherry Blossom PUB 1841 7th St NW, Washington, D.C., (202) 316-9396

 

Combine your love of art and technology: ARTECHOUSE

The cherry blossoms won’t be in peak bloom for long, and the influx of visitors may prevent you from truly enjoying their beauty. The new exhibit at ARTECHOUSE wants to fully immerse visitors with a fun, yet aesthetically pleasing experience. Aptly titled, In Peak Bloom, the show examines the short life-span of the cherry blossom, and connects it to various themes applicable in everyone’s lives. The artists behind some of the design worked overtime to present cherry blossoms in a way that’s symbolic to modern times, and the execution is worth a visit to the venue. Unlike the cherry blossom celebrations, this presentation has a longer shelf life. Visitors can enjoy the show until May 27.

ARTECHOUSE 1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, D.C.

 

Celebrate a D.C. favorite’s newest location with their cherry blossom sangria: Boqueria

The popular Spanish tapas restaurant opened their second location in Penn Quarter, and unveiled a brand new sangria flavor sure to entertain your taste buds. The cherry blossom sangria is made with rosé wine, vodka, house-made cherry cordial and lime. You can find the beverage available at both Penn Quarter and the original Dupont Circle spot. Read our preview of the new location, here.

Boqueria 777 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 552-3268

 

Partake in a one-night-only sample of Japanese fare: O-Ku D.C.

On April 4 at 9 p.m., Japanese restaurant O-Ku Sushi is taking diners on a Sakura celebration. That evening, diners will be treated to festive décor, music, and complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres, including Wagyu beef gyoza, vegetable egg rolls, and a variety of Makimono rolls. As for cocktails, expect to sample the shochu chuhai, a traditional cocktail served at cherry blossom festivals in Japan. If you happen to miss this particular event, be sure to stop by O-Ku for their Sunday family-style supper, which offers nearly eight courses of sushi and food for just $35.

O-Ku D.C. 1274 5th St NE, Washington, D.C. (202) 888-8790

 

A proper spring feast dinner: DBGB

Join chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud with Executive Chef Nicholas Tang at DBGB for a spring-themed soiree on Friday, April 5. For $148 a ticket, diners will be be served a  four-course prix-fixe menu with paired wines, all revolving around the cherry blossoms. Plates include tuna tartare, canard montmorency (spiced duck) and spring rhubarb millefeuille. Chef Daniel will also be in attendance throughout the feast to converse with diners and answer any questions.

DBGB 931 H St NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 695-7660

 

Vinciane Ngomsi

Associate Lifestyle Editor

Vinciane is our Associate Lifestyle Editor, which is a fun way of saying she knows where to find the best plate of nachos in D.C. Food is her love language, and she can prove it by baking you the most delicious coconut crepe cake you've ever eaten. A Kansas City-bred sports writer by day, Vinciane is still on the hunt to find the best BBQ in the DMV area. Her favorite brunch plate is eggs Benedict with a side of candied bacon.

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