Skip to Main Content

Release Date: March 23, 2010

National Gallery of Art Greets Spring with New Dishes by Michel Richard and Cherry-Inspired Treats in Espresso Bar and Garden Café Français

Washington, DC —With spring approaching in the nation's capital, visitors and residents alike anticipate the flowering of the city's iconic cherry blossoms. To celebrate this long-awaited symbol of springtime, the National Gallery of Art—together with award-winning Washington-based chef Michel Richard and chef David Rogers of Restaurant Associates—presents a revamped seasonal menu in the Garden Café Français, including cherry-flavored delights in the Garden Café as well as the Espresso and Gelato Bar.

Cherry Inspirations

In the Garden Café Français, Chef Richard has added cherry clafouti ($6.50), a rustic French country dessert from the Limousin region, to the à la carte menu. The recipe rose to popularity in France during the 19th century, and has since become well known and loved in North America as well. Traditionally, clafoutis were made with the first sweet cherries of the season; the fruits were not pitted so the kernels could release their unique flavor as they baked. Today's version is more often prepared with pitted black cherries arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick, flanlike batter. The baked clafouti is dusted with powdered sugar and served slightly warm. The dish's name derives from the Occitan clafotís, from the verb clafir, meaning "to fill" (as in filling the batter with cherries). A complimentary recipe card is available by request to Garden Café Français patrons.

In honor of the season, the Espresso and Gelato Bar located on the Concourse level introduces cherry, cherry-raspberry, and chocolate-cherry gelatos, as well as sorbets in cherry, cherry-raspberry, and pomegranate-cherry flavors ($4.05 single; $4.85 double). Offering 19 flavors of house-made gelato, grilled panini sandwiches, and a selection of fresh pastries and desserts, the Espresso and Gelato Bar is open Monday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Garden Café Français Spring Menu Additions

Chef Michel Richard has refreshed the menu for the Garden Café Français, adding lighter options and incorporating seasonal ingredients for spring. On the buffet ($19.75 per person), new additions include Salade Niçoise (cherry tomatoes, Niçoise olives, haricots verts, hard-cooked eggs, red peppers, red onion, and zucchini in a garlic and basil vinaigrette), Salade d'asperges remoulade (tender asparagus tossed in remoulade dressing), and Quiche aux épinards et fromage (spinach and cheese quiche).

Inspired by the French impressionist masterpieces in the Chester Dale Collection, Chef Richard developed the Garden Café Français menu primarily around classic French dishes such as French onion soup and coq au vin, which were popular in the 19th century and continue to be served on many French tables to this day. More contemporary items include Richard's signature chicken "faux gras." Continuing the Gallery's popular themed menus inspired by exhibitions, Richard's offerings for Garden Café Français will be available through February 10, 2011, in the West Building Garden Café.

Garden Café Français is open Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. A special dessert and beverage menu is served from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays to accommodate visitors who attend the free Sunday evening concerts in the West Garden Court. One of the most distinctive dining spots in the nation's capital, the Garden Café features a fountain with Herbert Adams' sculpture Girl with Water Lilies (model 1928) near the West Building entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. A 19th-century French sculpture after Jacopo Sansovino, Bacchus and a Faun, welcomes visitors into the Garden Café's new expanded space, which accommodates groups of 20 . Reservations are recommended; please call (202) 712-7454 or e-mail [email protected].

More information about the many dining options at the Gallery, as well as menus and recipe cards available to download, may be found at

Chef Michel Richard Creates Garden Café Français in Honor of Chester Dale Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art Greets Spring with New Dishes by Michel Richard and Cherry-Inspired Treats in Espresso Bar and Garden Café Français

Biography: Chef Michel Richard