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Anyone tried The Red Hen in Old Saybrook?

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We have a date night planned this evening and I'm tempted to try this new place where Jack's used to be (sigh. I miss Jack's). Anyone have thoughts about The Red Hen? I'd like to try someplace new, but will sit at the bar at Liv's and eat if nothing else comes up.

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  1. I miss Jack's, too :(

    Haven't been yet, was planning for the next couple of weeks.
    I know the owner used to own Lupo in Chester, which recommends the food to me, at least when it was new-ish.

    1. Don't go!! We ended up there last Sat. as the roads were too snowy to make our out of town reservation. Only 3 tables in the dining room and very slow service. The "roasted" olives appy tasted like olives thrown in a microwave. The shreded pork(pork rillettes) appy was flavorless.Two other appys that were stated as served with an aioli tasted like pure mayo. We had to ask server for bread and water. Main courses equally poor. Their signiture southern fried chicken tasted like a crumb coating not a batter and was horribly dry. The collards served with it had a strange cloyingly sweet taste like they had been laced with sugar.The strip steaks were cooked perfectly as ordered but very tough and chewy. Odd for restaurant quality beef. The bar ran out of the wine I was drinking, after one serving. Extremely stark ambience, more like a dinner with uncomfortable chairs. All in all a very very poor experience. We asked if the regular chef was snowed out and was told no the regular was working. The bar room is attractive, you may want to just have a glass of wine and then go somewhere else to dine.Too bad as the owners previous restaurant Lupo in Chester was very good. Your much better off with your Liv's idea.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jdgall

        I'm sorry to hear that, I was a big fan of Lupo and was surprised when they closed and still kept Cabo open. Is it maybe that new restaurant misstep, one that shouldn't happen to a seasoned restaraunteur after a few good digs? Just curious!

        D.

        1. re: raskolnikov

          Who knows, but there were way too many problems to be just a miss step. We were really at a loss as to how bad the many faults were.

          There are too many really good restaurants in the area to waste ones time and money on a place like this.We shan't return.

        2. re: jdgall

          Thanks for the review. We didn't go, and didn't even make it to Liv's because the movie was three hours long! I'm disappointed, was really looking forward to a new place in OS.

        3. We went about a month ago and found it ok not great but nothing to return to.
          I agree about the stark and un-inviting dining room and uncomfortable chairs.
          We also didn't get bread for a while and when we did got exactly one piece each! Silly.
          The salads were quite good and I ordered scallops that were cooked perfectly and had a lovely sauce ( which I can't recall) but there was a lot of butter swimming on the plate which I really don't need.
          The ricotta tart we had for desert was delicious.
          Service not so great, a bit slow and there was only one other table seated in the dining room.
          We may return and sit at the rather pleasant bar.

          1. DW thought it was time for an evening out, so we tried the Red Hen tonight. Although the decor was spare, it wasn't off-putting as other posters suggested. Seating for about 50 was a third full so we were seated immediately without reservations.

            Service was friendly and unobtrusive. Plenty of bread (and they asked if we wanted more) with olive oil. We shared a Hen salad and even though they split it for us, there was plenty to eat. My scallops were delicious, but there were only three of them--my stomach could have used another. The tasty chopped shitake mushrooms that came with them helped make up for it. DW was satisfied but not impressed with her food and commented that the cold cheese and spinach accompaning the bruschetta was not what she expected.

            On the whole, I will agree with a previous commenter--good but not great.