Hey beautiful people! Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about all the fantastic dining options available now in DC. Compared to only a few years ago, the food scene has really stepped up its game! So, I’m excited to share a new series about tasty bites in the district (and beyond). Each week, I’ll alternate introducing a restaurant favorite at high/low price points. I’m a believer in value for money and that extends to food! To start it off, this week I’m dishing on Red Hen, a neighborhood Italian eatery in DC. I mentioned the Red Hen in this fashion post. This restaurant is located in the historic Bloomingdale neighborhood of DC. You’ll need to make reservations a few weeks in advance as this place fills up fast. No reservation but really want to eat here? Don’t worry. Be there promptly when they open at 5:30 pm and snag a seat at the cool U shaped bar. This dinner was a pre-anniversary celebration, so husband and I decided to go all out with appetizers, pastas, and mains. The meal started off with a few fresh pieces of homemade bread with zesty olive tapenade. I’m a huge fan of olives and often make this at home, but the Red Hen’s version was really delicious. We were impressed with all their starter choices, but we finally settled on one. This is burrata appetizer, a creamy ball of cheese sitting atop a mound of farmer’s market summer tomatoes and corn. The next course was pasta! My husband ordered the duck ragu and I got zucchini pasta. The green pasta was beautiful- if you look closely, the pasta are shaped like flower buds. The sauce was really unique and delicious with yellow squash, green pea puree, lemon zest, and pistachios. For the mains, we ordered huge juicy scallops with polenta (pictured above) and slow-braised short rib with smoky beans and chorizo topped with goat cheese. Those interesting square wedges on the side are my new favorite Italian discovery, Roman style gnocchi. We ordered this, thinking we were getting the traditional potato based pillows that you normally think of with gnocchi. Instead, these were made with semolina flour, loads of parmesan cheese, and fried rosemary and sea salt. Very delicious and as soon as I got home, I googled recipes to make these at home.
It was about here in the meal that we just couldn’t eat anymore with happily filled stomachs. It’s a shame, really, because we were too full for dessert, which looked beautiful judging from nearby tables. The Red Hen was such a special dinner experience, and worth its higher prices. Each course was creative and we discovered some new taste combinations we’ve never seen before.
I love writing this post and sharing my experiences with you all, but I’d also love to learn more about you and build community here. Do you love Italian food? Do you have some favorite Italian restaurants in your area? What are your favorite dishes? Please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!