100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Crane & Turtle

Chef Makoto Hamamura (far right) worked at CityZen before heading Crane & Turtle. Photography by Scott Suchman.

The scene has witnessed an explosion, recently, of small, independent restaurants in locales where the best residents could hope for previously was a good wing shop. None, however, is quite like Crane & Turtle, which might easily have been an exercise in hipster self-congratulation—an expensive French-Japanese restaurant in a formerly working-class neighborhood—but instead seems so genuine and charming that you root for it. Makoto Hamamura’s brand of fusion, weaving the flavors and traditions of his native Japan with French techniques, is oddly (and unfortunately) out of fashion in this mash-up-mad food culture of ours. Occasionally, a dish comes across as more idea-in-process than fully realized vision, but the best plates feel both creative and rewarding. GM Elizabeth Parker came from Rose’s Luxury and imbues the operation with feel-good sincerity.

Don’t miss: Hamachi tataki; sea-trout carpaccio; seaweed salad; smoked sturgeon with crème fraîche; “sukiyaki” (braised beef cheek with a quail egg); scallops with grits; miso red snapper.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.