On Friday, my dinner club and I met for our monthly meeting—this time we went to Red Hen, which is one of my favorite Italian spots in the city. I first went with my friend Emma (who I just road tripped with!) back in March when she was in town visiting for the weekend, and I was excited to get back for a second time. I almost didn’t write a dinner club post on Red Hen because it’s always so dark in there, it’s hard to snap photos (great for the ambiance though!). But, it’s such a great restaurant I wanted to share despite the lack of perfect photos.
Our reservation was on the later side, around 9pm, so we wanted to grab a glass of wine beforehand. Since none of us are super familiar with Bloomingdale, we looked on the map and saw Tyber Creek Wine Bar & Kitchen was just around the corner from Red Hen. We were easily able to grab seats at the bar since the patio was poppin’ the night we went and really enjoyed it—the restaurant smelled so good! It’s on my list to go back and eat there sometime soon. We also drove by Big Bear Cafe and it looked so cute—that’s definitely on my list, too!
But anyway, back to Red Hen—if you haven’t been, add it to your list ASAP, and definitely get a reservation. The restaurant is on the smaller side, and both times I’ve been, it’s at full capacity. The bar and a semi-open kitchen are the centerpiece of the restaurant, and the vibe is both rustic and cozy. There’s no outdoor seating at Red Hen, so if you’re looking to dine al fresco, this won’t be the spot. However, if you’re looking for the perfect spot on a cold winter night—this is your place.
Both times I’ve been to Red Hen, I’ve started with the whipped ricotta crostini that’s served with balsamic brown butter and truffle honey and the Arancini ‘Cacio e Pepe,’ which is fried risotto, pecorino, black pepper, herb aioli, and chili honey. Both are so good—I’d order both again in the heartbeat. At dinner club last Friday, we also ordered the burrata, which came with grilled bread and charred tomato ‘salsa.’ Burrata is my favorite cheese and this one didn’t disappoint!
For dinner, we split two pastas—the rigatoni and the mafalde from their summer menu, which is made with sweet corn crema, spring onion, roasted corn, and pecorino tartufo. The rigatoni at Red Hen is the best I’ve ever had, and I would highly, highly recommend—I’ve gotten it both times I’ve been to Red Hen now. The mafalde was also delicious, and I hope they bring it back next summer! We also split the caramelized scallops, which were served with English pea cremosa, bacon, fingerling potatoes, and a mustard vinaigrette.
To top it all off, we split the panna cotta and it was just the sweet treat we needed at the end of the meal!