100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 32 Crane & Turtle

Szechuan-style duck at Crane & Turtle. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Paul Ruppert is the name behind the late, lamented Ruppert’s as well as the soon-to-close Passenger, one of the city’s premier cocktail bars. Makoto Hamamura cooked in the now-shuttered CityZen kitchen under chef Eric Ziebold for seven years. The fortuitous pairing of Ruppert and Hamamura has produced the most delightfully idiosyncratic restaurant to debut in the last year, a charming, cozy 25-seater across from Ruppert’s new Upshur Street Books.

As a cook, Hamamura is even more exacting than he is creative, giving his French-Japanese synthesis a welcome clarity and focus. When conception and execution are equal, as in the chef’s twist on bouillabaisse, or a riff on tuna tataki, you might think you were in one of those hushed spaces where foodies go to worship.

Happily, you’re in a real neighborhood—and crammed next to someone else who’s also probably swooning.

Don’t miss:

  • Hamachi tataki
  • Grilled quail with mission figs
  • Bánh xèo (Vietnamese stuffed crepe)
  • Seared scallops with chorizo-tapioca dumplings
  • Szechuan-style duck with pea shoots
  • Apple rangoon with crème fraîche ice cream
  • Molten chocolate cake with salted caramel

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.