have heard mixed things. we are planning a celebratory dinner next week..should we consider the place?
I ate there not too long ago and our table also gave the place mixed reviews. I liked it very much, but I am willing to try new things and did not look forward to eating something there that I could easily find someplace else. Others at my table (my partner included) are pickier eaters and like the comfort of the familiar--for such people the choices are slimmer, though not nonexistant. I say go for it, and look forward to a fun evening (and one that, thanks to rather lackadaisical service, will last a long time).
re: James G
Based on my one meal at Palena, I can't give it a recommendation.
I am one of the people who found the menu at Palena difficult....I had a tough time finding dishes that I wanted to order. [NOTE: I don't like dishes with fruit--either as an ingredient or in the sauce--and I don't like steak, roasts, chops and the like.] However I never have this problem at Kinkead's....quite the opposite.
Also we found the service to be lackadasical and our table (in the front) for a party of five was crowded...and the place was far from full.
PS. If you scroll down a bit, you can see the review that I posted of the place after our dinner, which it turns out was in December 2001.
We ate there for a celebratory dinner a year ago, and we thought it was the best meal we've had in D.C. Perhaps we just hit a good night, but everyone at the table was very pleased with a wide range of dishes, and Frank Ruta and Ann Amernick really seem devoted to getting it right. *Definitely* make sure you sit in the back room.