Small Plates: Cherry Blossoms Herald Sweet Treats

Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:31pm

It’s that time of year again! The snow has subsided, the sun has come out, and the cherry blossoms are about to bloom. The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off on Saturday and will feature a host of cherry-themed specials from bars and restaurants all over town.

B. Smith’s (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE) at Union Station is getting into the spirit with a prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu. At a cost of $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner, guests can indulge in a variety of cherry-themed dishes. The meal begins with the blossoms salad, which includes dried cherries, and ends with a cherry apricot cobbler.

Over at Palette (1177 15th St. NW), guests can order a three-course meal at the budget-friendly price of $21. Diners can choose between the tasty cherry sake float or the miso cherry soup to start before digging into a salmon entree. The meal tops off with a cherry chocolate brownie topped with — you guessed it — cherry ice cream.

If a liquid dinner is more your style, swing by Policy (1904 14th St. NW) where mixologist Chris Schmid has created a cocktail that includes cherries but isn’t too sweet. The cherry cocktail is made from mandarin blossom vodka, cherry liqueur, elderflower liqueur, cherry bitters and prosecco.

Restaurant Rolls Out 60 Types of Sake

Kushi Izakaya & Sushi (465 K St. NW), the newest restaurant to open near the Convention Center, has rolled out a comprehensive beverage program that includes more than 60 different types of sake.

Bar manager Thom Flynn has created a sake list that includes bottles from the northern and southern parts of Japan. It features filtered and unfiltered sake as well as sparkling bottles.

The restaurant is just as interested in serving sake as it is in educating the public about how the spirit is made. Kushi will be offering regular, complimentary tastings during which customers can learn about how sake is made, what differentiates one bottle from the next and what the beverage pairs well with.

In addition to sake, Kushi will also offer shochu, a Japanese spirit made from barley, sweet potatoes or rice. The drink is a little bit weaker than vodka and can be used in a variety of cocktails.