Food’s seasonal flavors, cherry blossom inspiration signal spring is here
As the snow melts and the cherry blossoms bloom, crisp, fresh flavors of spring replace the warm winter spices. Popular restaurants in the D.C. area are keeping up with the changing produce and introducing seasonal menus that highlight the best the spring has to offer. Spring dishes reconnect with the warmth of the earth, with the sweetness and crunch of fresh fruits and vegetables slicing through the earthier flavors, creating a refreshing medley of flavors that celebrate the celebrate the earth.
At Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, Executive Chef Drew Adams brings his love for locally sourced produce right to the table. Adams drew inspiration from the Maryland and Virginia woodlands, finding unique flavors in uncommon ingredients like Wormwoods and Fiddleheads. His most popular dishes pair fruity flavors with the Rock Creek herbage. The touch of his culinary expertise gives these humble ingredients a new level of sophistication.
Appetizers like the Roasted Beet Soup use the simple ingredients like red cabbage and apple but are packed with flavor. Several entrees also shine a light on Maryland’s renowned seafood scene. The Maryland Crab Cake is served with pink peppercorn tartar sauce and soft greens taking what could be finger food to the next level.
The advent of spring means that brunch season is also in full swing. Supra in Shaw brings the Georgian dining experience to the brunch, lunch and happy hour table. Chef Malkhaz Maisashvilli creates his own versions of traditional egg, cheese, and bread-based dishes. The traditional khachapuri bread, made in a toné oven melds into the egg and vegetable filled shakshuka to create the Ajaruli Ketse Bostneuli, filled with rich roasted eggplant, sweet peppers, squash, and eggs baked in the dough. Fluffy pancakes made with ricotta can be enjoyed with a selection of fruit preserves.
Pair these brunch bites with fruity cocktails like the pomegranate Pom Pom and the 10,000 Beats Per Minute, infused with beet and orange flavors. Lunch offers more versions of khachapuri, like sandwiches, vegetable spreads, and lamb kabobs.
But perhaps the biggest indication that spring has arrived in the DMV is when people begin to see cherry blossoms, on trees and in their food. Several eateries in the area introduced special meals, desserts, and drinks inspired by the iconic Japanese flower. Bangkok Joe’s in downtown D.C. honors the flowers Japanese roots with a cherry blossom inspired menu, available during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
The menu includes the first course, main course, dessert and a cocktail. The dishes use the sweet and strong cherry flavor to meld together the Asian fusion style meals.
A major attraction that is back in town for the spring is the Cherry Blossom Pop Up Bar. Available only to patrons who are over 21, the bar is filled with Instagram worthy floral décor, butterflies, a Japanese streetscape and a 10-foot-tall Godzilla. Drinks, both alcoholic and virgin, are inspired by ingredients that mimic the cherry blossom aesthetic. Fresh strawberry, apple, lychee and cherry blossom flavored liquors are used in several drinks, as well as more traditional red bean paste and sake bases and infusions. The bar is a fan favorite, with lines leading out the door and the wait time being as long as an hour.
For smaller springtime treats, food enthusiasts can find special desserts at several locations. Dolci Gelati has cherry blossom flavored gelato that they can serve in the shape of a rose. Astro Doughnuts is making a cherry filled doughnut, covered in cream cheese and decorated with a branch of blossoms. Georgetown Cupcakes’ cherry blossom cupcake features cherry infused frosting on a vanilla cake. It doesn’t take much to find restaurateurs in this city celebrating the spring!
Author credit: Sonikka Loganathan
Photo credit: Rachel Lyn Photography for Astro Doughnuts (featured), Andrew Propp for Supra (inline)
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