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Jun 12, 2007 02:16 PM

Palena desserts and quality of food...

Has the quality of food at Palena remained wonderful? Also, since the pastry chef left, have the desserts suffered at all. In other words, how is Palena these days maybe compared with Obelisk.

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  1. I can't comment on the dessert--because I haven't had a dessert at Palena in 2 years--but the food is still absolutly wonderful. I haven't eaten in the dining room in about 2 years but the bar menu (especially the burger) is incredible!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elyssa

      The desserts continue to be phenomenal. Although sometimes I refrain from ordering so that we can get the cookie plate with the amazing caramels...

    2. Just went about a month ago and the food and dessert were still great. I had the goat cheesecake which still was delightful, bf adored the cookie and ice cream thing.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        My wife and I have reservations at palena. She is not into food as much as I am so she suggested that we sit in the front room so she can get a salad and something else casual while I get the 4 or 5 course tasting menu. Do you think we will lose the wonderful experience by not sitting in the back room. She can always get the 3 course and I get the 5 course in the back...what do you think??

        1. re: DCGUY5

          I don't think you will necassarily lose out on a wonderful experience but I think the service tends to be better in the back. It's also a different vibe. So if you are looking to get dressed up and have nice/fancy service and a multi-course meal in an elegant environment then the back of the restaurant is where you should go. Even if your wife isn't "into food" she will find delicious options. You might want to call ahead and make sure you can split up the amount of courses though...sometime restaurants make everyone get the same amount of restaurants.

          But even if you sit in the front you will get the same quality of food. And those booths can be romantic. It's just a matter of service. The service in the front of the house isn't's just not the same as the back.

          1. re: DCGUY5

            Palena is still most definitely firing on all cylinders. Anne Amernick has left being the pastry chef there, though? I hadn't heard that. I'd suggest still going to the back room, though, your wife can go for three courses and you for five if you like. The front room is more casual and different, but still excellent.

            1. re: DCGUY5

              First off I don't think they take reservations for the front room so if you made a reservation it is for the back room.

              Second the nice thing about the palena menu is you can choose with the three course menu to either get an appetizer and main, or second course and main you can have whatever two courses you want which gives her a big selection. Definitely go for the back room, even if she isn't a foody she will find something. The second course pasta dishes are incredible I recommend the gnocchi or if they still have the ravolini (prob not) it was incredible. The back room is just a touch more classic and upscale not that the front room isn't great, but they don't normally serve the same menu, so I am not sure you would get what you are looking for from the front room although if you end up there get the roast chicken.

              1. re: DCGUY5

                I think your initial impulse is a good one. Ruta is at the top of his game right now, but having done both the front and back experience multiple times, I'd stick to the front. (My favorite seatings are the small booths in the middle, that are "cafe"). If you are in the cafe, you can order from either the cafe menu or anything at all off the restaurant menu. The reverse is not true. And my experience in the back is that it isn't all that much of a "wonderful experience." The service is actually not as good as in the front of the house. Don't really know why. It's not all that "fancy" in the back room either. Rather dull, and in need up updating.

                1. re: galleycat

                  I've been to Palena twice, once in the front and once in the back. While I agree that the back room isn't really all that "fancy", I found the restaurant menu much more exciting than the cafe menu. As others have stated you can order from either menu in the cafe, so it doesn't really matter where you sit.

                  1. re: galleycat

                    Hmmm have been in the back a couple nights and had extremely wonderful service, but I tend to go on weeknights perhaps that makes a difference, or perhaps I just found myself the good server there since I have had him both times... I wish I could remember his name.

                    I also have to disagree on the back being a little fancier I just think the environment, lighting and a little quieter atmosphere do make it more intimate, but what can I say I am a girly girl so others may not feel that way.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      While I agree the back room could arguably use an update, I love the distance between most of the tables and the other diners. And I love the fact that there is not as much hustle and bustle as the front of the house. Like ktmoomau said, it's more intimate.

                      That said, the ability to order from both menus at the front of the house is compelling.

                      We've largely had good service from Palena, too. It helps to go so often that we're at least considered semi-regulars.


                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        I completely agree with ktmoonau and I am a manly man ! :-)