724 9th Street, NW via google maps
From a press release:
“Today the co-owners of Cranes announce details for their restaurant and sake lounge exploring the intersections of Spanish and Japanese cuisine, which will open in Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood at 724 9th St. NW in the former Ruth’s Chris space. The restaurant, which will boast an extensive sake collection in addition to its “Spanish Kaiseki” menu, is expected to open this fall. Chef and co-owner Pepe Moncayo comes to D.C. most recently from Singapore, and brings an impressive resume highlighted by time in Barcelona and beyond working directly under famed Catalan chef Santi Santamaria.
“Japanese cooking is well-represented in the culinary scene in Singapore, and I fell in love with it the moment I moved there,” Moncayo said. “The more of it I learned, the more similarities I saw with the ingredients, techniques and landscapes I grew up with. When you look at Japanese and Spanish cooking, especially Catalan cuisine, there are so many intersections, from the cooking techniques to the way we combine ingredients and flavors. Spanish kaiseki is a natural cultural and culinary embrace.”
While the elements of Moncayo’s menu sound disparate at first, their combinations show off the strength of the Japanese-Spanish connection. A baby shrimp torta is dressed with aioli and tamarind romesco. Nameko mushroom rice is paired with burrata and a salad of enoki and shallots topped with porcini oil. Fried baby squid become luscious and piquant when served with soft-boiled egg, chorizo, and white onion puree. Ponzu and espelette pepper stand in for mignonette in a dish of fresh oysters, while sesame sauce and bonito flakes seem made for accompanying padron peppers. In the style of Spanish bar and Japanese kaiseki dining, dishes are small, well-balanced, and designed for progressive dining. They will be available a la carte, or as part of a set kaiseki menu, chosen each day by the chef.
The restaurant’s sake lounge will be a separate space from the main dining room and feature an impressive list of Japanese sakes and classic cocktails, as well as a condensed list of snacks that edits down the full Cranes menu into a selection perfect for bar dining.
3877 worked with Moncayo and his team on the design of the 11,000 square foot restaurant space that includes a bar, sake lounge, raised dining area, open kitchen, and private dining room suitable for 25 guests. The sleek and modern yet approachable space draws on the chef’s Spanish and Japanese influences. Bright polished metals and thoughtfully placed wood elements layer amongst dark textures and dramatic lighting.
About Chef Pepe Moncayo
Pepe Moncayo is chef/partner at the forthcoming Cranes in Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, and a partner at Bam!, his first solo restaurant, opened in Singapore in 2013. At Bam!, chef Moncayo built an omakase-style experience unbound by geography. Living in Singapore for 10 years has enriched his cuisine with Asian ingredients and methods. Previous stops include stints under three Michelin star Catalan chef Santi Santamaria at his eponymous Santi in Singapore, Can Fabes and EVO, and as executive chef at two-Michelin-starred Dos Cielos with Javier and Sergio Torres.”