1822 1st street nw, washington, DC 20001
tel: 202) 525-3021
what was consumed: pasta! and the burrata. and brussel sprouts. delish!
happy birthday (dinner), to me! when bjl asked about where i wanted to go for dinner, i quickly decided on the red hen. that a respected wdc chef once mentioned to me that the red hen was his favorite new wdc restaurant made a dining experience there a must. bonus: it was an easy bus ride from home.
by the time we thought about dinner, the few reservations the red hen offered had long been taken up. the website says they always leave room for walk-ins (that always fill up quickly) and i'd heard that they have quite a bit of bar space and that those seats free up pretty regularly, so we took the chance (with a contingency plan in the works) and head over. sure enough, the restaurant was packed, including all of the bar seating. our fault for not being more strategic (we went right at a popular dinner time), but it was a risk we knew we were taking. that said, we did what most diners do and assessed our surroundings and found a couple that was about to leave and politely asked for their seats as they were getting their things ready to leave. yay!!
the bartender at the red hen told us that while their menu was inspired by italian cuisine, their specialty was pasta. we took a look around to see what everyone else was ordering, along with recommendations from the bartender, and quickly decided on what turned out to be some of the favorites. the burrata was oh so creamy and coupled with sauces that i drew out that creaminess even more, if that's even possible! the brussel sprouts were crispy in the right places and tender in the others, all well seasoned and delicious. and the pasta! the noodles were perfectly cooked (chewy and delicious) and the sauce was tomato-y with just the right touch of spices. and the meat in the pasta was highlighted just as much as the noodles (the dish was about half meat, half noodles ... !!!). the two of us most definitely were 2-seconds away from licking the plates, the dishes were so good. the healthy portions also ensured that we would leave the red hen with our hunger completely satiated, our bellies filled with deliciousness.
the red hen's decor was also so welcoming. the exposed brick walls, the open kitchen, the bar that sort of jutted out in to the dining area ... and diners with lots of smiles on their faces and laughter emanating from all of the tables. it all felt like i was entering a communal dining area of friends and i feel like that always makes food taste better.
i can't wait to go back to the red hen and try the other parts of their menu! no matter what, i know it will be so so so delicious.