Everyone I know enjoys a fine meal, particularly when the ambiance is unexpectedly mellow, the staff is small, friendly, knows the menu and the food delightful. It simply makes for a delicious meal in an understated, yet cozy setting. Crane & Turtle is located at 821 Upshur Street, N.W. in Washington, DC, better known as Petworth.
I am quite familiar with this area of Washington, DC, as my siblings and I spent quality time at my maternal grandparents house on Webster Street during the summer months. Back in the day, it was a blue collared, minority community that grew up together during the migration from the South. Everyone knew each other, people watched out for each other and gatherings took place in front of the corner store. It was certainly a community. On the evening I visited Crane & Turtle, a group of children sang on the sidewalk to the radio, while snapping their fingers and keeping in tune with one of their elders, people gathered at a carry out across the street, partaking in joyful conversation and couples strolled into Crane & Turtle. where they were immediately seated and served. We communed together, laughed and had conversation that carried through the night – it was a great time had by all. One could tell that this is a changing neighborhood , filled with people from many different cultures, walks of life and tastes. What a beautiful setting for a restaurant that focuses on Japanese French cuisine.
The food at Crane and Turtle is beautiful in presentation, preparation and taste. From the delicious cocktail called Provence In Bloom, served with a tiny bit of fresh lavender, gently floating on the surface of this liquid happiness in a glass, to the assorted dishes my favorite foodie had me try, I was not disappointed. If anything I was inclined to taste things I would not normally have been bold enough to try.
I do not want to spoil your visit, so I will share only a smattering of what we tried. Here are a few photo highlights that reflect the simplicity of the dishes we shared. Honestly, I am left yearning for more…..Tako Wasabi…..never thought I would have eaten Octopus….but it was quite delightful and the orange oil and fennel combination with a small piece of bread…well this was the beginning of a dream meal…..
The starter plates we tried contained raw seafood…which was different for me. My fish is always cooked and I just never seized the opportunity to try raw fish. Not a favorite of my palette, but quite delicious in small bites.
There were two dishes I can honestly say, will cause me to return to Crane & Turtle (in season) to try again…
The Tempura Maryland Blue Softshell Crab with Cucumber Wasabi vinaigrette, Shiso Oil in a squid ink batter. I cannot tell you how good this dish is. Pictures do this no justice at all. The cucumber cubes were just the right consistency, gracefully embraced by the shiso oil, dancing with the crab in my mouth – absolutely divine!!! I was informed that this dish is seasonal….I hope this means it is truly sourced locally.
The other dish that captured my heart was called C& T Tom Yum Kung. Consisting of Heritage Breed Chicken, Tsukune, Baby Bok Choy with King Trumpet Mushrooms. After cooking my share of Chicken in years past, I do not make a habit of eating chicken out or at home. I must say this dish was simply full of bodacious flavor, it melted in my mouth and the vegetables were cooked just right.
To end the evening we tasted two desserts – the Fish Bowl, a charming little blend of peach compote, tapioca, Greek frozen yogurt with raspberry filled pastry shaped like a fish – oh so moist and chewy….DIVINE!!!
The second dish was prepared with loving care. It was called Mount Fuji and yes it caused an eruption of wonderful tastes in my mouth, from the warm chocolate oozing at every spoonful to the unexpected surprise of salted caramel in just the right amount. No picture….it really did not last long between the two of us.
Yes I will return to this establishment that in my opinion has an awesome mix of Japanese inspired French cuisine. I also suggest you give it a try. Mr. Paul Ruppert, what a fine establishment you have here that definitely says, come back and enjoy something new, enjoy something beautiful right here in Washington, DC. What a refreshing change of menu, that has found Petworth, a community that is growing and changing together!