The Red Hen, with a beautiful wood bar, open kitchen complete with a wood fire grill, exposed brick walls, and low lighting, manages to offer both the relaxed charm of a neighborhood restaurant/bar while still providing fine dining quality food, wine, and service.
The Italian-influenced menu features a variety of appetizers, pastas, and main courses. Start your meal with a glass of their orange wine, which is refreshing and crisp, kind of like a dry sparkling wine without the effervescence, and an order of their ricotta crostini. The crostini is made with crunchy pieces bread smothered in creamy ricotta and drizzled with sweet and heady truffle infused honey. The juxtaposition of different textures and sweet and savory flavors will rouse your taste buds and get them ready for the rest of the decadent dishes to come.
Salads are fresh, seasonal and definitely worth a try. One of the best is the beet salad, where the beets are wood roasted, giving them a smoky flavor that marries perfectly with their natural sweetness. Topped with earthy wheat berries and salty ricotta salata, the salad also showcases the Chefs’ talents for making each dish a widespread experience of texture and flavor.
The highlight of the menu is the selection of pasta dishes, which should not be missed. All of the pastas are made in house and are absolutely perfect. The cacio e pepe pasta is a creamy and spicy concoction of pasta drenched in a cheese and black pepper sauce. Ricotta cavatelli and fusilli with butternut squash are other delicious pasta options.
Prices are reasonable, with all pasta dishes under $20, and the atmosphere is great for dinner with friends or a date night for two.
The Red Hen, 1822 1st Street Northwest Washington DC 20002, 202-525-3021