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Petworth’s Crane & Turtle will begin serving ramen once a week in what the French-Japanese restaurant is calling the “Tuesday Ramen Project.” The walk-in-only special will be available at the seven-seat counter around the kitchen from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Each bowl is priced at $12, and the style of ramen will rotate monthly, or even weekly.
Crane & Turtle chef Makoto Hamamura will start with Tokyo-style shoyu ramen. The clear broth is soy-based with chicken and pork bone and will be topped with chashu pork, nitamago, and scallions.
“People think all ramen is tonkotsu now because everyone does it,” Hamamura says. “Ramen is not just cloudy ramen, so I thought I’d start with the classic, Tokyo-style.” Fans of the richer, “cloudier” tonkotsu ramen from Hakata will get their fix later on in the project, so too will fans of Hokkaido (northern Japanese) ramen.
Hamamura has always wanted to dabble in ramen. Six years ago, he had a serious investor and was looking for spaces to open a ramen shop. That fell through, but Hamamura has been researching the steamy bowls of comfort food from Japan ever since. He says he eats it on every return trip to Japan, and every trip to New York.
“It’s always there. It’s always in my head,” he says. His last trip to Japan in January was especially worthwhile. “I went to the ramen museum with my staff,” Hamamura says. “They have eight different ramen shops from all over, and you can taste them all.” For those with wanderlust, the museum is the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum.
The ramen aims to be a bit of a departure from Hamamura’s refined cooking, which has turned the restaurant into a more of an upscale destination.
“We opened as a neighborhood restaurant, and in beginning we got a neighborhood audience,” Hamamura says. “But our cooking style is not neighborhood food anymore, so we’re trying to do something.”
Photo of chef Makoto Hamamura by Sam Vasfi Photo