Sunday, April 10, 2016

Occidental's April Specials Give Nod to Cherry Blossoms

Shoomaker's (Photo: Library of Congress)

From our friends at Occidental Grill & Seafood...

Occidental Celebrates Its Storied History with the Cherry Blossoms

Occidental Grill & Seafood pays homage to Washington’s beloved cherry blossom season this April by introducing cherries into historic dishes and drinks. Occidental will utilize cherries to provide playful seasonality and freshen up popular historic choices, celebrating both its own 110th year in business and Washington’s historic cherry trees, planted in 1912 as a gesture of friendship from the Japanese government.

Thursday dinner service during April will introduce a lamb chop entree with mint jelly and cherry gel (available until the National Cherry Blossom Festival concludes on April 17) as well as a cheerwine-braised pork belly appetizer. Guests beginning with the pork belly will delight in the transformation of the dish, commonly seen as a salty, canned convenience product. While the 1830s cookbook The American Frugal Housewife calls for a simple recipe of beans, salt pork, and pepper, Occidental’s Executive Chef Rodney Scruggs and Chef de Cuisine Scott Perry showcase pork belly braised in cheerwine (a cherry soft drink) and paired with white bean puree, stewed heirloom beans and cabbage, and a star anise sour cherry reduction. A classic lamb chop entree, sourced from Pennsylvania’s Jamison Farm, is served with a cool mint jelly and bright, flavorful cherry gel.

Throughout April, Bar Manager Aubrey Walkins is mixing up a Cherry Rickey, a spin on Washington's “official” cocktail. The Rickey, commonly made nowadays with gin, is said to have originated in 1883 when a colonel requested a refreshing bourbon drink at a bar called Shoomaker’s. Although this neighborhood bar no longer stands off Pennsylvania Ave, Occidental honors its iconic drink with a recipe that calls for Old Forester Bourbon, house-made cherry syrup, lime juice, habanero water, and Fever Tree soda water.

Guests seeking cherry desserts this April will also enjoy Occidental’s elegant cherry crisp, available on Thursdays until the end of the month. The classic, simple dessert is elevated with fragrant fennel pollen and cream cheese ice cream, making for a sweet treat perfect for the season.

Occidental Grill & Seafood’s inspired chefs and mixologists invite both tourists and locals alike to share in both their rich history, and a menu inspired by one of Washington’s signature seasons.

About Occidental Grill & Seafood:
Since 1906 the Occidental has been a gathering place for the nation's political power brokers, sports figures and celebrities. The Occidental prides itself on offering seasonal dishes, a distinguished wine selection, and innovative cocktails, all served in an ambiance both elegant and welcoming. For more information or to make reservations, call (202) 783-1475 or visit