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Feb 18, 2009 02:51 AM

Is Palena still good?

There has not been much buzz about Palena recently and I wonder if it is because it has declined or because the novelty of fried lemons and roast chicken has worn off.

I am flying into DC this AM and have been thinking of dining there tonight, but I wondered what else, superior, might be out there in the Connecticut St. NW corridor. My friend and I probably don't want to eat downtown, but are ready for other suggestions in that vicinity.

I have tried the Indian place across from Palena (Indique??), good but not tonight.

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  1. Palena is still fabulous.

    If you want something else just to have something else, Dino is good.

    1. Palena is still incredible. I haven't eaten in the back of the restaurant for a number of years, but I have been at the cafe a number of times in the past year and I still find it one of the best restaurants in the city.

      Whatever soup is on the menu, you should get it, especially if its a consumme. SO amazing! I still dream about their spring version with morels and other yummy goodness. :)

      If you don't want to go to Palena then you should check out Dino. Ardeo is also pretty good. You should be warned that it is Restaurant Week and both Dino and Ardeo are participating, so it might be hard to get a reservation. Worth a try though.

      I personally don't like Indique. I've been there twice and was greatly disappointed both times.

      1. I agree with all of the people that have replied so far, HOWEVER, Ruta needs to do something to start getting press again! Why.....In down turn economies, people lighten the amount of times they go out......If they don't see much on a place for a while isn't more likely that they will invest their time and money into those places that are getting the Press? I think so....

        I also think that Ruta should do a little bit more with his menu. The last few times I went, the food was AWESOME....but it could use some flair...

        6 Replies
        1. re: themeatguy

          > the food was AWESOME....but it could use some flair..

          What the heck does that mean? What does flair taste like?

          1. re: Hal Laurent

            Well Hal,
            In my opinion......Nationally used Snake River Farms Wagyu beef, Alaska King Crab legs, Guinea Hen, Chestnut Soup, Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi…..are all very nice menu items….But not if you are going to Palena. Plus, if Ruta would update his website once in a while, like perhaps with the winter menu, maybe people would consider going back again.
            Flair. Are you kidding? Have you been to Komi, Cityzen, or 2941? All of their plates look incredible and the taste matches that…..Not saying Ruta’s food isn’t awesome. I already said that it was. However, I think that if I am going to pay that kind of money for food, it should have the plate presentation and items that are more local, sustainable, and innovative….
            Sorry. That’s my opinion, that’s the whole point of Chowhound, right?

            1. re: themeatguy

              >> if Ruta would update his website once in a while, like perhaps with the winter menu, maybe people would consider going back again.

              Ruta does not seem to have a problem packing the place night after night, so this doesn't seem to be an argument that has much sway with him.

              1. re: DanielK

                Yeah....It's real hard to fill a 26 seat restaurant...I hear ya!

          2. re: themeatguy

            I just read where Ruta is to be on Iron Chef come March, doing a benefit for 1500 at the Convention Center also in March and wrapping up the month at a cook-off in the Poconos...I think it is best to wait until April to go, once he is back in the kitchen.

            1. re: DonFrancesco

              Do you have the link for the iron chef mention?

          3. Yes very good. Just there last weekend at the bar. Fabulous food.

            1. Yes! I ate at the cafe about a month or two ago and it was great! Ardeo is also really good and I really do like Indique, if you like Indian food.
              Dino is fine but I personally think that it's a bit overrated. It's good, but IMO, it doesn't deserve all of the hype it gets.

              1 Reply
              1. re: joann.hill12

                You know....When Ardeo got that much better after Trent Conry. I agree. The new chef there has put some really nice food together. I also think that it brought the staff to a new level, (happy, accomidating and helpfull with menu discription).....

                I haven't been to Dino, how is it?