Burgeoning Bloomingdale just got a culinary shot-in-the arm, now that the Red Hen has opened its designer doors this week. This Italian-influenced American, flooded with natural light from bay windows, sports a rustic-mod look, with exposed brick and aged wood accents. Here are some reasons for its neighbors to crow.
1. A stone hearth featuring a wood-fired grill is a focal point of the open kitchen, and will be used for creative smoked and grilled meats and vegetable preparations (smoked olives in a salad, wood grilled hen cacciatore). Modernist cooking techniques will be employed for the likes of smoked ricotta and aioli.
2. Housemade pastas include potato and sauerkraut agnolotti with country ham and grain mustard and black linguini with clams, andouille and breadcrumbs.
3. The commodious bar, topped with embossed leather, is the domain of co-owner Sebastian Zutant, formerly Proof’s wine director. Value-driven selections focus on Italian-made wine and spirits. Ten wines are offered by the glass nightly.
4. Cocktails, most under $10, incorporate wines and spirits in interesting ways. For example, the Blood in the Water is made with Sicilian Solerno orange liqueur, Cochi Americano, Hayman’s “Royal Dock” Navy Strength and maraschino.
5. The restaurant has an open-floor plan, making it useful for informal get-togethers, family meals and celebrations. The bar is likely to be a community gathering spot and looks like a great perch for solo diners.
6. A chef’s garden is in the works.