Proof veterans plan to hatch The Red Hen


Proof wine maven Sebastian Zutant is among the trio of restaurateurs planning to open Red Hen in Bloomingdale. (Courtesy Sebastian Zutant)

 He and chef Mike Friedman — along with Mike O’Malley of 9 Group , a casino resort in Las Vegas — will be equal partners in what the trio is calling The Red Hen, a 50-seat dining room at the intersection of First Street and Seaton Place NW.

Conveniently for Zutant, the location is “four doors down” from his townhouse. Advantageous for all involved, the establishment will be co-designed by Zutant’s wife, Lauren Winter of Edit, the architectural firm that found fashionable looks for Chez Billy and Rogue 24 , among other District interiors. The Red Hen is expected to take advantage of its prominent windows, and lean light rather than dark.

None of the principals owns a red hen, by the way. They just liked the “vibe it gives off,” explained Zutant; the name “doesn’t sound too busy or over-the-top.”  The team is leaning Italian on the menu because that’s the style they gravitate to on their own. “The food is easy, simple and clean,” said Zutant. 

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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