On a Zoom get in touch with, Mike Friedman seems each and every bit a chef with his limited-sleeved whites, black beanie, and a neatly trimmed beard that frames a regular smile. But almost a calendar year into the novel coronavirus crisis, the driving drive behind the Pink Hen sounds additional like the resourceful director at an advert company when he points out how the Bloomingdale neighborhood fixture identified for its warm assistance, wood-burning grill, and wealthy Italian tiny plates has managed to chug along in spite of holding its eating home closed for the earlier 10 months.
“My task kind of morphed into much more of this: culture, written content, and innovative,” Friedman claims. “I call it the three Cs.”
Even though D.C. authorized indoor eating at a restricted capacity from late June until finally a late December pause — a ban that will keep on being through at minimum January 21 — Friedman claims he and his partners at the Pink Hen and two All-Intent pizzerias in no way felt cozy bringing guests back again inside of. Aside from AP’s riverfront site in Navy Property, none of his restaurants could accommodate outside dining. By the time Crimson Hen had an possibility to increase a streetside patio, the restaurant experienced proven plenty of of a takeout and shipping enterprise that Friedman says it designed superior financial feeling to stick to the new business enterprise product than make investments in features like heaters, tents, and wind boundaries.
Whilst the Red Hen exerted very little effort and hard work on takeout prior to the pandemic, Friedman states he’s saved his neighborhood regulars coming back by managing through a collection of pop-ups themed about different regions of Italy. Just about every time there’s a new menu, the Pink Hen has new dishes to splash across its social media pages and flag to prospects on its electronic mail distribution checklist.
An “Island Summer” that includes fregola pasta, anchovies, and loads of citrus to signify Sicily and Sardinia led to a “Friuli Regatta” in the drop, when concentrating on the northeastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region that borders Slovenia pushed the cafe to deliver on additional pores and skin-get hold of wines. A winter Après ski menu created all around northern alpine areas of Piedmont, Lombardy, Alto Adige and the Valle d’Aosta has come and gone. Starting Thursday, January 14, the Crimson Hen will start out advertising meals and wine with an “Under the Tuscan Sun” concept.
“Let’s retain offering them new and exciting points,” Friedman says, pointing to the achievements of a new rooster Parm rollout at All-Intent.
“I really don’t have dining establishments any more I have websites.”
Through just about every pop-up, the restaurant maintains a menu of “Red Hen” classics like whipped ricotta crostini, rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu, and a cacio e pepe bucatini that used to be an off-menu exclusive.
For every new slate of pop-up dishes, Friedman acknowledges he has to make some concessions for takeout and shipping and delivery. For occasion, he would have liked to provide Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a hulking Tuscan T-bone, but he was involved about how it would travel and how much he would have to charge. As an alternative, Red Hen is promoting a braised and grilled limited rib ($28) that provides the exact same flavors with a garlic-rosemary butter and fried fingerling potatoes tossed in lemon and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Other highlights of the Tuscan menu include a cylindrical garganelli pasta in a duck ragu complete of pink wine, prosciutto, rosemary, and bread crumbs. Tuscan hen liver mousse with fig conserva is a riff on a Red Hen staple. By incorporating a caramelized scallop dish with polenta, toasted pine nuts, and salsa verde, Friedman is supporting 1 of his favourite purveyors, Nancy Wynne of Morningstar Seafood off the islands of Maine. For dessert, Pink Hen has continued to enjoy with distinctive flavors of gelato, most lately adding a mint chip to the blend.
Friedman, who earlier concentrated on Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisines for José Andrés at Zaytinya, says he’s also toying with a departure from Italian pop-ups altogether. A “Red Hen Bon Voyage” collection could offer you a takeout vacation through France, Lebanon, Greece, or Spain. Despite the fact that his cooking is total of soul, mixing his Jewish upbringing with the Southern Italian foods he relished as a child in New York and New Jersey, he’s usually tinkering with new thoughts pushed by the prospective to attract electronic “likes.”
“I really do not have dining places any longer I have web-sites,” he suggests. “I will need to develop traction on individuals sites, so I produce articles.”