Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jaleo: Restaurant Review

I visited a fabulous restaurant this weekend that I believe everyone in the DMV should try at least once. Jaleo, one of the few famous Jose Andres restaurants in the DC area, is nestled in a busy corner of the Crystal City shops district in Arlington, VA. 


         As their website states, "Under the direction of famed chef José Andrés, Jaleo offers an impressive assortment of tapas, the traditional small dishes of Spain, as well as savory paellas, superb sangrias and a fine selection of Spanish wines and Sherries in a festive, casual atmosphere. Created in 1993 by Rob Wilder, Roberto Alvarez, and José Andrés, Jaleo has become a DC institution." This spot has an amazing variety of tapas, cheeses, paellas and wines. My friend and I dined vegetarian and the selection was awesome. I must admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Spanish tapas; some places cover everything is so much oil, you leave feeling like you need your waiter to roll you out of the place. Jaleo's dishes were flavorful, light and refreshing; just heavy enough to fill us up and leave us with room for a desert! The atmosphere of Jaleo is bright, inviting and open. The building features beautiful high ceilings and an outdoor patio area.

Here is what we tried:


Rose Sangria and a Mayahuel (Repasado tequila, canela syrup, grapefruit)

The Rose Sangria had a great bite to it. It was meddled with apricot, citrus and strawberry flavors. The Mayahuel has a kick of cinnamon and tasted great. I wouldn't have paired cinnamon flavors with tequila but it made for a great, refreshing drink.


Alcachofas fritas con tapenade y limón
Fried baby artichokes with tapenade and lemon dressing ($12)

These fried baby artichokes were served on a bed of salty olive tapenade and garnished with sweet fried plantain chips. It was the perfect fix for a fried food craving.
Sandía con tomates, queso de cabra y pistachios
Watermelon with tomatoes, goat cheese, oranges and pistachios ($10)

The watermelon, when served, looked almost like fresh Ahi tuna. The pairing of the earthy goat cheese with the sweet summer fruit was nice and refreshing. This was my favorite presentation!

Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de queso
Seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese ($7)

These peppers were sweet and filled with goat cheese. They also had some sort of orange spread in them which tasted like roasted red pepper and paired really well with the cheese.
Papas arrugas
Canary Island-style wrinkled baby potatoes served with mojo verde ($7)
Simple and perfect is how I would describe these potatoes. They were baked and rolled in salt. I die. This was served with two dipping oils: cilantro and garlic.
Setas al ajillo con La Serena
Sautéed seasonal mushrooms with La Serena cheese potato purée ($8)

The mushrooms were dressed in a light garlic sauce and served over the creamiest potato and cheese puree that I have ever had. The intense garlic flavor pairs so well with the wild mushrooms.



Manzanas 'Carlota' al PX
Apple Charlotte with Pedro Ximénez and vanilla ice cream ($7)
This dish was good but didn't "wow" me. The ice cream was served on a bed of lightly sautéed granny smith apples which gave the dish a surprising crunch. The Apple Charlotte reminded me a lot of a dry bread pudding.

And that concludes my review. Overall, this restaurant has fantastic service; the staff doesn't hesitate to decode the Spanish menu and make some amazing recommendations. It is clear that the food is prepared with great care. The flavor pairings are not only very unique but very well thought through. With the friendly atmosphere and tantalizing dishes, I will certainly be back!


Details on the Crystal City Location:

2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703.413.8181
Sun – Thurs: 11:30 AM – 10 PM
Fri. and Sat: 11:30 AM – 11 PM
Brunch Sat. and Sun. until 3 PM
Pre-theater Menu Mon. – Sat: 5 – 7 PM


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