I am not a foodie – let me be clear about that. Don’t get me wrong, I like good food and I enjoy trying new and different types of food. But I am terrible about grasping the nuances of individual flavors and ingredients, and knowing all the techniques that differentiates one plate versus the next. However, food is a huge component of traveling and understanding the culture of the area, and well, we all have to eat!
One place that looked interesting was Cranes, a Spanish and Japanese fusion restaurant located less than 2 miles from the National Mall, and just a couple of blocks away from the Capital One arena. If you’re traveling by Metro, it’s right around the corner from the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop.
They also recently earned a one Michelin star, which I have to admit, is the reason why we dined here.
For being a Michelin starred restaurant, Cranes is reasonably priced. Their tapas range from $3 – $18, while their entrees (which is meant to be shared), ranges from $9 – $36. For dinner, they have a Prix Fixe menu at just under $100.
We went during lunch, and as part of their menu is the Bento Box ($35). This includes 6 dishes, and I thought this was a great option to try many different flavors in one go!
Who else helped deliver the main dishes but Chef Pepe Moncayo himself! I thought he looked familiar, and he didn’t introduce himself as the chef, but looking back and seeing his photo on the website, yup – it was definitely him. He was very nice and very excited for us to try his dishes.
I don’t know how often they change their menu, but this time around, the Bento Box included:
grilled salmon with zucchini rice / bok choy with soy sauce / burrata with shiso pesto and confit tomatoes / chicken yakitori with lemongrass and ginger / maitake tempura / grilled shrimp with kosho sofrito and kumquat
Can I tell you what all of the ingredients are? Nope. But they were all so good!
Keep in mind, this was also a very filling meal. I ordered a bao bun tapas (below) as well, and barely had any room in me to finish it.
My lunch date Rachel ordered a couple of oysters, and they went down so smooth!
She also ordered a plate of mussels (left) from the À La Carte menu, and I remember it filled her up quite well. Then again, items from the À La Carte menu is meant to be shared. The bao buns (right) came with two buns, is filled with braised short ribs, umeboshi mayo, and tobiko, and like everything else – mwah. Very good.
In short, if you’re looking for some delicious and unique dishes to try without breaking the bank too much, I highly recommend Cranes!