• Monday, September 28, 2020

Cherry Blossoms in New York City

The Cherry on Top
April 14, 2014
By , Galavante Contributor

The place: The Kitano, NYC’s first and only Japanese-owned hotel

The scoop: Sorry, Washington, DC and Tokyo, but you’re not the only ones with epic cherry blossom displays this time of year. The annual Sakura Matsuri Festival, featuring the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s renowned cherry blossoms, takes place April 26 and 27, right here in the Big Apple.

To celebrate, the Kitano is offering blossom-themed travel packages for stays through May 15. The package includes two nights in the traditional Tatami Suite or premiere Townhouse Suite; limo transportation to and from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; complimentary admission and a cherry blossom tour; a private class for ikebana floral arrangements using cherry blossoms; an in-room cherry blossom-infused tea amenity; and an American and Japanese breakfast buffet each morning.

In the city, you can still give the Kitano’s uniquely Japanese culture a whirl with a traditional kaiseki and sake-pairing dinner in the hotel’s Michelin-rated Hakubai restaurant.

The menu: Hakubai’s atmosphere is as authentically Tokyo as it gets in NYC – the only thing missing are yukata robes. The six-course meal, prepared by Executive Chef Yukihiro Sato, and paired with a selection of warm and cold sake, is as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious. The amuse-bouche is highlighted by a simmered daikon radish with minced chicken and turnip tofu-topped salmon roe and wasabi sauce. Quite a mouthful, in more ways than one. And let’s not forget their assortment of sashimi, deep-fried shrimp wrapped with shiso leaf and a spicy tuna sashimi over rice. The akadashi miso soup, traditionally served after the main entrée, and green tea ice-cream caps off the spectacular lineup. To which we simply say, arigatō.

(Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden)