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Palena Restaurant Review: You may find that chef Frank Ruta’s tasting menus, with set prices depending on the number of courses you order, give you the best sense of what his cooking is about. Otherwise, select from à la carte dishes that change frequently, some even daily. Specials may include grilled duck breast or a veal chop stuffed with peppers as main courses. Or try the richly flavored dry-aged sirloin with wine sauce. The small and stylish restaurant is warmed by pale yellow colors, fresh-cut flowers and floral prints on the wall. There’s a café section up front where diners can order casual fare or from the regular fixed-price menu. Note that Palena's burger is among the best in DC, and the Palena fries served with fried lemon slices are quite good and unexpected. Palena has also expanded to take over an adjacent space for a market that carries many of the artisanal products served in the restaurant, plus an assortment of fresh sweets and savories.