Best ‘trust me, I’m a local’ restaurant: The Red Hen

Media Credit: Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer

Best “trust me, I’m a local” restaurant
Location: 1822 First St. NW
Readers’ pick: Founding Farmers

D.C. locals know that when spring rolls around, tour buses hit the streets filled with eager family members and friends that all want one thing – a restaurant recommendation.

The Red Hen is a District favorite because of its homestyle Italian dishes and laid-back atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to recommend to an atypical tourist who wants to get away from the busy National Mall.

The moment you step into the Red Hen, you’ll feel welcome in its homey and rustic dining room. It’s an escape from the typical fast-paced Washingtonian lifestyle.

One bite of the food gives you yet another reason to believe this is a local favorite. The dishes are simple and taste home-cooked because they are made in The Red Hen’s wood fired oven.

The pasta dishes cost about $18 which is affordable for a night out in the city, while the main courses are a little pricier at around $28. The menu is also seasonal, so there’s always something new and tasty to try.

The crostini with creamy whipped ricotta, tangy balsamic brown butter and sweet truffle honey ($5) would make even the grumpiest senator on Capitol Hill smile. The sweet starter will make you feel like you ate dessert before your main course.

Another appetizer worth trying is the fried cauliflower ($12) made with spicy salsa rossa, fresh lemon yogurt, tangy pecorino romano and crispy breadcrumbs. It puts an Italian spin on this tasty vegetable.

The hearty pasta dishes will keep out of town visitors full and energized for their trek from museum to museum. The paccheri with porcini crema ($18) and squid ink linguini ($18) are unique twists on everyone’s favorite carb. These pastas will give visitors a reminder of home because the Italian dishes are just like Nonna’s – only better.

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