On a Zoom contact, Mike Friedman seems to be every bit a chef with his quick-sleeved whites, black beanie, and a neatly trimmed beard that frames a recurrent smile. But nearly a year into the novel coronavirus crisis, the driving force behind the Purple Hen seems a lot more like the inventive director at an ad company when he points out how the Bloomingdale community fixture identified for its heat service, wooden-burning grill, and rich Italian modest plates has managed to chug together in spite of preserving its eating space closed for the earlier 10 months.
“My career variety of morphed into a lot more of this: tradition, content material, and artistic,” Friedman says. “I call it the three Cs.”
Although D.C. permitted indoor dining at a constrained capacity from late June until finally a late December pause — a ban that will continue being by at minimum January 21 — Friedman says he and his companions at the Purple Hen and two All-Purpose pizzerias under no circumstances felt comfortable bringing company back again inside. Aside from AP’s riverfront site in Navy Lawn, none of his dining places could accommodate outdoor eating. By the time Pink Hen had an possibility to add a streetside patio, the restaurant experienced founded sufficient of a takeout and supply business that Friedman says it created far better money perception to adhere to the new enterprise model than spend in features like heaters, tents, and wind boundaries.
Even though the Purple Hen exerted small exertion on takeout prior to the pandemic, Friedman suggests he’s stored his neighborhood regulars coming back by running by a sequence of pop-ups themed all around different locations of Italy. Each and every time there is a new menu, the Pink Hen has new dishes to splash across its social media internet pages and flag to consumers on its electronic mail distribution record.
An “Island Summer” showcasing fregola pasta, anchovies, and lots of citrus to characterize Sicily and Sardinia led to a “Friuli Regatta” in the fall, when focusing on the northeastern Friuli-Venezia Giulia location that borders Slovenia pushed the cafe to convey on far more skin-call wines. A wintertime Après ski menu developed close to northern alpine regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Alto Adige and the Valle d’Aosta has come and gone. Starting up Thursday, January 14, the Crimson Hen will begin selling food stuff and wine with an “Under the Tuscan Sun” theme.
“Let’s hold providing them new and fascinating matters,” Friedman claims, pointing to the results of a the latest hen Parm rollout at All-Function.
“I never have dining places any longer I have internet websites.”
During each individual 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 employed to be an off-menu distinctive.
For each and every new slate of pop-up dishes, Friedman acknowledges he has to make some concessions for takeout and shipping. For instance, he would have loved to market Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a hulking Tuscan T-bone, but he was anxious about how it would travel and how a great deal he would have to cost. Alternatively, Red Hen is offering a braised and grilled quick rib ($28) that delivers the very same flavors with a garlic-rosemary butter and fried fingerling potatoes tossed in lemon and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Other highlights of the Tuscan menu involve a cylindrical garganelli pasta in a duck ragu complete of purple wine, prosciutto, rosemary, and bread crumbs. Tuscan hen liver mousse with fig conserva is a riff on a Crimson Hen staple. By incorporating a caramelized scallop dish with polenta, toasted pine nuts, and salsa verde, Friedman is supporting one particular of his favorite purveyors, Nancy Wynne of Morningstar Seafood off the islands of Maine. For dessert, Crimson Hen has continued to engage in with different flavors of gelato, most just lately including a mint chip to the blend.
Friedman, who beforehand concentrated on Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisines for José Andrés at Zaytinya, states he’s also toying with a departure from Italian pop-ups entirely. A “Red Hen Bon Voyage” sequence could give a takeout trip through France, Lebanon, Greece, or Spain. While his cooking is whole of soul, mixing his Jewish upbringing with the Southern Italian food stuff he liked as a kid in New York and New Jersey, he’s generally tinkering with new ideas driven by the potential to draw digital “likes.”
“I do not have dining places any more I have internet websites,” he claims. “I require to produce traction on those web-sites, so I build written content.”