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Found 13 results

  1. Can't believe you people didn't got going on Palena yet. The cafe menu continues to grow and amaze as always. From the latest, bisque with mussels, touch of rice and spinach flan; stuffed Pennsylvania lamb with piquillo bread sauce; and hen gallantine sexed up with pistachios and foie gras have blown my mind. The menu is so familiar and well-loved by now that ordering became a struggle, although not entirely un-looked-forward to. Should I have something new? Or should I get the best burger in NW? Of course, last night I figured had to have my burger fix before taking off for two weeks of caviar therapy. I said it first...Jeff is very dreamy and extremely dexterous with beverages of all sorts.
  2. Tonight was exactly two weeks to the day (according to the delightful hostess who seated us) since Bibiana's opening. If this is a restaurant that's still ironing out early kinks though, it really doesn't show it. Service was clicking, the food was--with two minor quibbles--excellent, and in general Bibiana feels like a place that's aiming high. Service deserves a call out...the meal was well paced, and there was always someone around when we needed something. At one point we stopped another waiter on his way back to the kitchen, who graciously and knowledgeably walked us through the wine list. Two different managers came over to ask about our meal. Overall I really got a sense of genuine, shared enthusiasm for the new venture. Highlights of our dinner included a wonderful little plate of saffron arancini, a creamy, earthy risotto encased in a perfect little crunchy shell. Great stuff. A squid ink spaghetti with blue crab was wonderful, each component intensely flavorful on its own but even better in combination. My entree of whole grilled branzino, filleted tableside and served with a lemon and dill sauce spooned on top, was fresh and well cooked and would really have been a winner if it had been served skin side up to preserve the skin's crispiness. That was minor quibble #1. When I mentioned this to one of the managers who had come over to ask how things were, they apologized and brought over a glass of wine on the house. Completely unnecessary, and I really don't think I gave the impression I was unhappy, but a nice touch. Earlier in the meal I was a bit unnerved by how quickly the grilled sardines came out of the kitchen...sure enough they were warm, but hardly seemed like they'd been grilled - no char, no crispy skin. Not sure what went on there...too bad, too, since they were really very tasty little fish. That was minor quibble #2. Desserts were delicious. Overall we were really pleased with our first meal here, and I wouldn't be surprised at all, just given the energy and enthusiasm of the place, if it gets even better over time.
  3. Details from the Washington Post here. Personally, I'm a little disappointed to hear that it's going to be, in part, ANOTHER pizza place; I realize that's not the entire focus of the place, but I don't think we're exactly lacking for good pizza places in DC.
  4. Rarely have I been this impressed by a new restaurant. My favorites were the fritto misto, fried oysters (daily special), and the squid-ink pasta with seafood. The seafood was fresh, fresh, fresh! My seafood pasta dish was uniquely flavored - I think olives were involved. We also had the pasta with pork sausage and caprese with fruit. Those were good but not great. Good variety of red wine in a wide range of prices. Service was friendly but not very efficient. My fried oysters were sitting at the kitchen counter too long so by the time it was served to me, they were cold. After complaining, they were replaced by a fresh, hot batch and the taste and freshness was stunning. The wait for food was also long. However, it is a new restaurant and the food is great, so I will cut them some slack because the food is so darn delicious.
  5. Jonathan Gold's review makes me want to hop a plane and go *right* *now* to Dudley Market: "In Venice Beach, the Place to Eat is Dudley Market, and the Dish to Try is Uni-Topped Black Risotto" by Jonathan Gold on latimes.com
  6. more explanation of the disparity between his 3 stars and what others have experienced (and I know this is kinda off topic for the Dino thread) from Toms chat
  7. They opened the night before Thanksgiving to a packed house. The staff still seems a little shell shocked from Wednesday but they reported that Friday and last night were much better. At 7:00 it was packed. It should be noted that I am an unabashed fan of Palena so I do have a bit of a bias. But on to the details.... Going to the new space tonight was like going home to the house you grew up in after your parents have remodeled. It's warm and familiar, and the people are the same, but nothing is where you remember it. Those who worked at the old Palena are clearly enjoying their new home. It's fun watching them walk around in this mix between "Holly Shit, it finally happened" excitement and a sort of fog of "we are still Palena but we can't always find the champagne glasses because they are in a new place." The service isn't perfect and kitchen isn't yet up to speed and they know it. But they are in better shape than I've seen at other restaurants who are three days in. And the old timers on the staff are having a great time sharing their new digs. The menu is still a Chef Ruta'esque menu but there are signs that Jonathan Copeland is running the kitchen. Deviled eggs, duck rillets and one other item start the menu. The deviled eggs are a perfect example how good basic American food can taste when made with farm fresh ingredients. The main menu has a number of choices which are familiar: the burger, roasted chicken, gnocci and Caesar salad. The fries are there too, but it's only the shoestring, not the lemon or anything else you would find in the cafe (which is still operating in its regular manner). New additions include a pate, an antipasti which includes buratta, a veal dish and a steak. Finally, there are about half a dozen vegetable sides which I think are all $7. Seasonal veggies are of course the highlight. I had cauliflower ragu with a small, round pasta. It's warm and comforting with Chef's classic tomato ragu with black olives.. The pasta to cauliflower ratio was higher on the pasta side than I would like though since it's a vegetable side dish. For a main I had the gnocci with meat ragu. The soft pillows of gnocci are the same ones found in the other two dinning rooms. The final big new item is that there is a head to tail beef dinner which will be served family style. There is a minimum of 6 people and you have to give at least 24 hours notice but it only costs $50. I don't have any other details but already have plans to go. --- Click here to read Palena Cafe posts written before Thanksgiving, 2010 (interspersed with the main dining room thread since it previously offered both menus). And, had you not randomly met some guy sitting next to you at the bar many years ago, this website might not exist.
  8. The Birchrunville Cafe is in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Chester county and, for better or worse, has 28 from Zagat for food. The only light in the dining room at dinner is from candlelight. Has anyone been?
  9. I was cleaning off my desk and I found the unread Weekend section from last week's Wall STreet Journal. There is an article on the second page about outdoor dining and it mentions a place called Extra Virgin that has been open for about a week (two weeks by now) in Shirlington. It says that the cuisine is modern Italian and that signature dishs include house-made dig-and-fig confit sausage and a ricotta gnocchi with roasted lobster and rabe. Has anyone been yet. I can't seem to find anything about it on the web. It at least sounds interesting.
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