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The back dining room is fancy and features fixed-price menus. The front dining room, Palena Cafe, offers cheaper, a la carte fare.
One thing is consistent, though: Whether it’s double-chocolate napoleons or braised lamb shoulders, Palena’s offerings are always well-prepared and nicely presented.
Among favorites on the fixed-price menu: The lime-and-cumin-marinated ceviche of wild Alaska salmon with Sicilian orange, horseradish and peppery greens; and the pan-roasted loin and braised shoulder of lamb with spring vegetables.
Let’s not forget about the classy desserts. The double-chocolate napoleon, which combines flaky (puff pastry) and smooth (ganache) perfectly, is a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece; the cheesecake (goat cheese and cream cheese) with Amareno cherries in port wine is another delectable treat.
The service is prompt and proper. The ambience is quiet and elegant. From the loud speakers flow only Italian fare from Vivaldi to Puccini. A meal at Palena is fine in the best sense of the word: quiet, innovative and high-quality.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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