Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Palena without the kids...

Smiles everyone, welcome to Palena. Not quite Fantasy Island, but I be the food is better here. My trusty dining adventurers Andrew, Alison, and Cheryl. We decided to share a baby-sitter and leave the kids at Andrew's hacienda. BTW, the baby sitter has a degree in international finance from Syracuse. Anyone have an opening? Here we have some Gazpacho. Very nice presentation.
The Charcuterie plate. I ordered this if you can imagine it. The house-cured meat was good. I particularly liked the chunk of pickled citrus thing up by the greens. I'm not sure what it was, but it was very spicy/citrus-y.

This was an heirloom tomato salad. The cubes look like some type of tofu or feta, but they were actually an avocado mousse. Maybe not a mousse. They were firmer than a mousse, but the flavors practically exploded. Neat.

This is the fried plate that my friends have been talking about for years. Generally not served in back dining room, only in the casual cafe up front, but we've got pull. The best onion rings I've ever tasted were accompanied by fried lemons. Interesting. Very tasty.

Duck breast. Parts were good, but there was some gristle.

This was an awesome salmon. I'm not sure how he did it, but the crust on the top was perfect. The temperature of the fish and the consistency were as exact as I've ever had. Bravo Frank.

This was a squid-ink linquine de Mer. The seafood in the dish was excellent.

Gniocchi. It was tasty, but it's actually been a couple of weeks and I forget exactly what the sauce was about.

A slightly non-traditional Napoleon. Cheryl ordered this, but we ended up switching because I liked hers better and vice versa.
This was Andrew's chocolate affair.
This is what I had originally, the Italian Cheese Cake made with Ricotta. It tasted exactly like I remember from home back in Belmar at Pianconne's.
So, overall? Definitely worth the trip. The wines were great. Service was attentive and always there when you needed them without being intrusive.
Keep in mind that the restaurant has two dining rooms, one is casual, the other more formal. You can get both menus in the casual portion, but generally can only order from the fine-dining menu in the other part.
You can make reservations for the fine-dining area, but need to put your name on a wait-list for the cafe. You'll often see folks waiting outside the restaurant on Connecticut Ave. for a table.
If you go, tell Kelli and Frank where you read about them.
Until next time...

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