Jaleo - Spanish Tapas
Nelson @ Washington DC: This is a Spanish Tapas place in Washington just a few blocks away from the Washington Mall that my cousin Jason picked out. It was a nice restaurant and we had to fit a few extra guests, which they were nice enough to accommodate. Unfortunately I have lost my notes for this meal, so I'll just have to go by memory.
To start, we had these Cava Sangria, sprakingling wine sangria with Cava, liquor 43, strawberries and mint. It looked really appetizing because it had fruit and mint inside the drink, it tasted great too and was quite stiff (for a Sangria). Beside it is one of the first dishes we tried, Calamares a la romana (fried squid served with alioli). Nothing too special except that it was served with mayo, which is unique in of itself.
The bread service is beautiful with some rosemary and garlic embedded within.
This is a nicely presented cured ham, although I'm not sure which it is since there are several selections of "Embutidos" on the menu. The bread that came with it was extremely crunchy, but I think that was the point.
From pork to seafood, this is Vieiras con romesco y mojo verde (seared scallops with romesco sauce and mojo verde). We were doing family style tapas, so this one was really tough to share. I think I go a small bite and it was cooked well. Not sure what exactly is romesco sauce and where it is in this dish and there is definitely no mojo verde, so they either mixed it up that day or this is a daily special and I have it labelled incorrectly. Everyone was ordering stuff so it was too chaotic to record every single order.
Tortilla de setas y queso Garrotxa (Spanish omelet of chef-selected mushrooms and Garrotxa cheese). The description says it all, I have no recollection of this dish so it must have tasted just as it is described.
I have no idea what this dish is, but it looks pretty neat. I can't even tell if it is pork, red pepper or whatever else it could be.
Mejillones a la marinera (Steamed mussels in a traditional sauce of tomatoes and herbs). Perhaps a wasted order since this is typical from any other restaurant, but it turns out the sauce was so good that we kept this around to dip into once the mussels were finished.
I ordered this one, the Chistorra envuelta en patata frita (slightly spicy chorizo wrapped in crispy potato). This was a memorable dish because it was constructed into a wall structure. Even better was the taste, as the chorizo comes through with spiciness and fattiness, but the crispy potato adds a lot of texture to it. A great dish and a great presentation.
Next are the Paella dishes we ordered that requires 30 minutes to cook and cool. They use a Bomba rice from Valencia or Calasparra from Murcia, which are the best to absorb all the flavours yet keeping the perfect texture. We tried two, the Arroz a banda con gambas, literally meaning rice apart from shrimp, made with shrimp and cuttlefish. The other one is the Paella de pollo y setas silvestres, a traditional paella of chicken and chef selected mushrooms. Both were amazing because the rice was firm yet full of taste. Although both were Paellas, they tasted different and had a different texture. The shrimp one had harder rice (but not unpleasantly hard) and the other one was more moist. Both had a lot of taste, with the seafood one having a lot of seafood taste and the other a more earthy taste. The large shrimp were good too as well as the chicken/mushrooms. Great dishes and visually spectacular.
Gambas al ajillo, the very, very famous tapa of shrimp sauteed with garlic. I want to say simple and effective, but I can't really remember this dish specifically. Not sure why it's so famous either, mabye it's a staple in Spain?
Arroz de pato 'Jean-Louis Palladin', rice with duck confit, duck breast and foie gras cream. A really tasty and rich dish, the duck was thin, but really tasty with that thick layer of fat. The rice when drenched in the sauce was really rish, but also tasted really good and went well with the duck. A great dish, which was fairly large for a tapa and more easily shared.
Bunuelos de bacalao (fried salt cod fritters with honey alioli): I think these were something special since I took two pictures of it, but I can't recall exactly what made it so good.
I think this is the Lomo Iberico de bellota con manzanas, fresh loin from the legendary, acorn-fed black-footed Iberico pigs of Spain served with roasted apples. I think the sauce to this one was really tasty and I think Kitty really liked this dish.
Salmon con coliflor y frambuesas, seared salmon with cauliflower puree and raspberries. I was underwhelmed with the cauliflower puree, but what was I expecting?
Last but not least are the Datiles con tocino como hace tdo el mundo: fried dates wrapped in bacon. These were the most memorable dish as the taste was amazing. Sweet, yet salty, deep fried yet delicate, these were out of this world. I would come back here just for these!
A pricey meal, but really good food. Creative, well prepared and fresh, the food was excellent at Jaleo.
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