The other Jose Andres' Restaurant (DC)


Before Bazaar in LA, there was Jaleo in DC. Well, along with Oyamel, Zatinya, Minibar, and Cafe Atlantico. Jose Andres' restaurants are scattered all over DC, VA, MD area.

The foodies in DC told me that Jaleo is more of a generic tapas place and not that special or wow-worthy. Oyamel, on the other hand, is a different story (pricier than Jaleo and more upscale, and Mexican inspired. Jaleo is Spanish.) but I'm not here to talk about Oyamel, a place I've never been to.

Jaleo is a tapas restaurant with three locations. We went to the Crystal City location in a group of 6 wellesley women just living it up. The bartender spilled alcohol all over Lila's top and gave us all a free drink. I'd say it was worth it but then again, I wasn't the one with the wet boob the entire night.

After we had a few drinks at the bar and were sufficiently loud, we sat down to enjoy our dinner. It took us forever to order and it wasn't because we didn't know what to get, but more like, we didn't know what not to get. I heard great things about the Jamon Iberico so I knew I had to get it.

Jamón Ibérico ‘Fermín’
From the famous, black footed
Ibérico pigs 14.00

From the tapas, this was the most memorable dish for me. Jamon Iberico is ham from black footed pigs who are only fed acorns. It really does taste different. Very nutty and I want to say eggy but that is not the right choice of words (perhaps like unsweetened custard). It's just good.

Escalivada Catalana
Roasted red peppers, eggplant and sweet onions drizzled with sherry dressing

Rachel is vegetarian so she ordered this dish. It was actually really delicious and very flavorful.
Everyone had their favorites so that was good. The meat eaters didn't have to feel too guilty.

Pasamontés Manchego, D.O. Manchego
Sheep’s milk cheese, sweet and tangy
I don't remember if this was sheep or goat cheese but it was nice to have it contrasted with the honey. A definite crowd pleaser. The bread that it comes with had either a tomato spread or something salty on it. I wish I had posted this entry when I still remembered clearly or had taken notes on this.
Croquetas de pollo
Traditional chicken croquetas
I remember these croquettes to be a little on the heavy side, especially in contrast to some of the other dishes that were light but very savory.
Pulpo a la Gallega ‘Maestro Alfonso’
Boiled octopus with potato,
pimenton and olive oil
This was one of my favorite dishes because the octopus had a smoky flavor to it and it wasn't tough. It was very tender, flavorful, and totally gone, just like the jamon iberico.
Gambas al ajillo*
The very, very famous tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic and guindilla pepper
I don't remember much about this shrimp. It must have been a traditional tapas dish and nothing too exciting.
Chorizo casero tradicional*
Homemade traditional chorizo on a purée of garlic potatoes
These were delish! I remember liking them so much I ordered them again on a second visit.
Pollo al ajillo con salsa verde*
Grilled marinated chicken served with a parsley purée and garlic sauce
This dish was so-so. Lots to eat but not much to savor or appreciate.
Lomo de buey*
Grilled skirt steak with piquillo peppers
Doesn't seem that special but these little babies were mouth watering and flavorful. Perfectly cooked and tender.
We decided a trip to a tapas place is not complete without paella so we decided to get an exotic kind - one with squid ink!
Arroz negro con sepia*
Black rice with cuttlefish and alioli
I was glad we got it because I've never had squid ink before but to put it bluntly, it was WAY too salty. Not sure if the saltiness comes from the squid ink or not but I had to down a few glasses of water after just a spoonful of this. They make it tableside for your viewing pleasure.
Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema Catalana
A classic Spanish custard dessert with ‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges
Torres orange liquor 7.75
Last but not least, we got the flan for dessert. OMG. So. Freaking. Delicious. Everyone agreed these were the bomb diggity. We were full up to our ears but we enjoyed every last bite of this ridiculously creamy flan.
A few days later, I went to Jaleo in DC with another friend. These are what we ordered:
pickles came for free as did the bread sticks below:

I got myself a sangria, which was more or less typical.
Selection of all cheeses 16.00
The cheese plate was $16. Kind of felt like a rip off but I admit I paid more for cheese plates in the past. However, the portions here were hella small.
The fried calamari. It was just okay. I've had better fried calamari at Osteria La Buca in LA.
Tortilla de patatas*
Spanish omelet with potatoes and onions
Not the biggest fan of this dish but I love eggs. I think it was just too heavy. I find that I'm not a fan of Spanish omelet anywhere.
Chorizo casero tradicional*
Homemade traditional chorizo on a purée of garlic potatoes
I loved this dish. Hence, I got it again. It's also cheaper than say, Jamon Iberico, and warm. I was full and of course, my company was delightful!
All in all, a great place to eat, socialize with friends and not break the bank.
2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
Tel (703) 413-8181
Fax (703) 413-5566

480 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 628-7949


SinoSoul said…
there's NOTHING wrong w/ just a "tapas" restaurant, especially when it's at this caliber.

LA's tapas scene is so pathetically behind the rest of the country, and there's no reason why.

that whole octopus leg is exactly what we need to eat.
Jin said…
you're completely right. i just went to the jaleo in las vegas and their octopus is completely cut up in little itty bitty pieces. i want my octolegs!!!!!!

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