100 Very Best Restaurants 2017: The Red Hen

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Buttermilk panna cotta with blueberries at The Red Hen. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Nearly four years after opening, this Bloomingdale haunt is still a scene thanks to a warm vibe and a come-hither glow from the blazing wood oven. Chef Michael Friedman’s ever-inventive fare tags trends without getting precious. Small plates—such as crispy Brussels sprouts with anchovy-caper aïoli—shine, as do robust pastas. Try earthy paccheri with porcini crème and kale, or blissful ricotta cavatelli tossed in spicy lamb sausage, chickpeas, and bread crumbs. Drinks are as interesting as the cooking—unfiltered wines from organic and biodynamic vineyards, say, or cocktails mixed with Madeira and sour-cherry liqueur. While reservations are tight, the convivial bar is often an attainable perch—even on a hopping Saturday night. Moderate.

Also great: Chicken-liver mousse; endive-apple salad; smoked trout rillettes; rigatoni with sausage ragu; Brooklyn egg cream with chocolate gelato.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

Kristen Hinman
Articles Editor

Kristen Hinman has been editing Washingtonian’s features since 2014. She joined the magazine after editing politics & policy coverage for Bloomberg Businessweek and working as a staff writer for Voice Media Group/Riverfront Times.