Chef Pepe Moncayo Opens 1st U.S. Resto, Cranes, in Penn Quarter This Weekend

Image credit: Rey Lopez

Chef Pepe Moncayo’s first U.S. restaurant, Cranes, is set to open on Saturday. The restaurant and sake lounge in Penn Quarter will serve a mix of Spanish and Japanese cuisine that Moncayo calls Spanish kaiseki.

Image credit: Rey Lopez

“Spanish kaiseki is a natural combination,” Moncayo said. “When you look at the two cuisines, there are so many shared elements, from the cooking techniques to the way we combine ingredients and flavors. I embraced a Japanese sense of simplicity, cleanliness and focus on ingredients, but with a Mediterranean approach, and, of course, the other way around as well.”

The flavor combinations of Crane’s small dishes are unique and “test the senses” according to Moncayo. One of the most striking dishes from Moncayo’s opening omakase menu, for example, pairs green beans, shrimp, sea urchin and ponzu in a gelatin parfait shot through with sharp citrus notes, deep ocean flavors, and a rich crème fraîche base.

Aside from the main dining room, guests can enjoy sake and mixed drinks in a lounge featuring a large list of Japanese rice wines.

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