Location: 7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. 301.913-0003
Date: November 29, 2011
Cuisine: Spanish Tapas
Rating: Fun Tapas Bar
I’ve reviewed a lot of José Andrés restaurants on the blog, seven I think. This is een the second Jaleo. The Bazaar (REVIEW HERE) and his high end Saam, but also brunch at Trés, lunch at Trés, and to é by José Andrés and Jaleo in Vegas and Zaytinya also in Washington. Back to Jaleo, the restaurant at hand. It’s basically a straight up Spanish Tapas place but with a slightly modernized and enlarged menu.
One annoyance of this particular branch — and not the restaurant’s fault — is the Maryland law against corkage. They have a fine list, but I had brought an amazing Spanish wine 3,000 miles! Parker gives it 91 points. “The 2008 Termes offers up a sexy perfume of cedar, spice box, violets, incense, espresso, and blackberry. Savory, concentrated, and well-balanced, this flavorful effort will benefit from several years of additional cellaring but can be approached now.”
“Gazpacho de remolacha con queso de cabra y naranjas. Chilled red beet soup with goat cheese and oranges.” I’m a total José Andrés gazpacho whore. I even make it at home home.
This is a different variant, kind of gazpacho meets borsch. It was fantastic. Beety, with that vinegary tang. Delicious.
“Dátiles con tocino ‘como hace todo el mundo. Fried dates wrapped in bacon.” Really how can you beat fried dates wrapped in bacon? Yum yum.
“Ensalada rusa. The ultimate Spanish tapa, a salad of potatoes, imported conserved tuna and mayonnaise.” The Spanish love potato salad.
“Aceitunas rellenas de anchoas y pimientos del piquillo. House-made stuffed olives with anchovies and roasted piquillo peppers.” This is another classic, and these are a really good implementation.
“Jamón Ibérico de bellota Fermin. Cured ham from the legendary, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain and miscellaneous other Spanish meats like chorizo.”
“Pan con tomate. Toasted slices of rustic bread brushed with fresh tomato with Pasamontes farmhouse Manchego.” Basically Spanish bruschetta.
“Salpicón de cangrejo. Jumbo lump crabmeat with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and Sherry dressing.” While Spanish in flavors I suspect this a bit of a nod to the Eastern shore. Big lumps of crabmeat too.
“Pan de recapte con anchoa. Traditional Catalan bread with peppers, tomatoes and salt-cured Spanish anchovies.” I really wanted Fresh Spanish anchovies, marinated (Anchovies en Boccerones) but they didn’t have them. These weren’t a bad substitute.
“Espinacas a la catalana. Sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and apples.”
“Vieiras con romesco y mojo verde. Seared scallops with romesco sauce and mojo verde.”
“Lomo de buey. Grilled hanger steak with piquillo peppers.”
“Arroz con costillas de cerdo Ibérico de bellota. Made with the famous Ibérico de bellota pork ribs.”
“Arroz Mediterraneo. Made with porcini mushrooms, mixed vegetables, green and black olives and thyme.”
The dessert menu.
“A classic Spanish custard with creme and oranges.”
“Dark chocolate mousse with sponge cake and hazzelnut ice cream.”
“Various fruit sorbets.”
“Vanilla ice cream and grapefruit sorbet.”
“Chocolate ice cream.”
Jaleo is like a good Tapas place in Spain but a little slicker, with perhaps more consistant quality. And they don’t have fresh anchovies! It is also a little (actually more than a little) more expensive than a typical Spanish tapas place in Spain. But considering the scarcity of good tapas places in America… worth it.