Palomino, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. 842-9800.
Open for lunch Monday through Friday, and dinner daily.
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, a massive structure with huge, vaulted interior spaces highlighted by a spectacular domed atrium, is one of the few architecturally interesting new buildings in the government district. Located in a somewhat hard to find annex — a short, circular tower that juts out into a courtyard — Palomino is a visually striking restaurant that tries to complement the visual excitement of the Reagan Building with a food artistry of its own. The owners of Palomino have designed a dramatic two-level restaurant, complete with large (if fake) palm trees; ochre-colored, wood-paneled columns; overhanging lamps and glass structures reminiscent of, if not designed by, noted glass artist Dale Chihuly; and oversized reproductions of Matisse and other modern artists on the walls. Upstairs is a lively bar, and on the level below, accessible via a wide circular staircase, is the main dining room, featuring well-spaced tables and an open kitchen with a large wood oven.
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