Former Palena Chef Frank Ruta Heads to Bread Furst


After the shuttering of his Cleveland Park restaurant Palena, chef Frank Ruta is re-emerging on the dining scene this September at Bread Furst. Ruta will oversee Bread Feast, a nightly dinner at the Van Ness bakery of Mark Furstenberg. Former Palena pastry chef Aggie Chin will also assist.

"This is not a pop-up," Furstenberg says. "I'm much too old to be popping up."

Furstenberg credits CityZen chef Eric Ziebold for inspiring the evening expansion. During an early visit to the bakery, the chef and his wife suggested that Furstenberg host dinners in the space. "I said, 'I have enough to do, thank you very much.'" But the idea stuck with Furstenberg, and so he asked Ruta, a longtime friend, if he was interested. "And it turned out he was."

The Italian-influenced American prix-fixe menu will include antipasti and three or four courses served family style. The ever-changing seasonal offerings will be posted daily on Bread Furst's website, where guests will also be able buy tickets for reservations. There will be only one seating per night. Furstenberg plans to add a 20-foot communal table to the bakery, and with the outdoor patio, he hopes to seat around 30. The exact cost of the dinners isn't set yet, but Furstenberg promises something moderately priced. Bread Furst has also applied for a liquor license, which will allow it to serve cocktails and wine with the dinner. (Drinks won't be included in the price.)

Another thing you can count on: a really good bread basket.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery