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Jaleo, Local Spanish Tapas Chain - Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City


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When I moved to the DC area in 1997, one of the first "serious" restaurants I went to was Jaleo. I was just back from nearly a year in Europe with over a month of that time in Spain, so I was hankering for a tapas bar. I was prepared to be disappointed with Jaleo, but instead found myself returning every few weeks over the next couple of years.

I intended to go to Cafe Atlantico last night, but the bar at Jaleo looked tempting. And for the first time in a long time, it looked like there were a few free seats.

I started with a couple of scallops in Romesco sauce. I enjoyed the sauce, and the scallops were a bit past their prime but still decent. Queso de Tupi "Abuelo Tunica" was a surprise. This was a soft cheese that had been mixed with some sort of Spanish liquor served with bread and fig puree. It had a boozy sharp flavor that hit the spot. I also tried the Ensalada de Remolacha which consisted of beets, orange segments, walnuts, mixed greens and Cabrales-- one of my favorite cheeses. This was tasty, though the beets just didn't taste super fresh. I wouldn't go so far as saying they were canned, but they had definitely been around a while. I finished up my meal with a variety of sliced Spanish sausages: Chorizo, Soria, Butifarra, and Salchichon de Vic. All the meats were great, but I didn't care too much for the whole wheat toast points that came with it. Everything was washed down with a Garnacha, Carinena, Syrah, and Merlot blend called Perlat.

I'm glad I stopped in. It had been too long. If I'm in the area, and it's still early enough in the evening to get a seat at the bar, I'll be back. Soon.

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I know this is kind of old territory, since Jaleo has been around forever, but I just wanted to pipe in and talk about my recent experience. I go here fairly frequently but recently I brought my mom w

Well it is an expensive gin and tonic but consider some of the other elements: First he is using citadelle.  I like that gin; I do like it for gin and tonics made with a great tonic.  They are using

Thinking about Al Dente's comment as to why Jaleo doesn't get much love.  Seems to me it's the classic place that's just taken for granted as it trudges along providing excellent food and decent value

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I'm glad that a Jaleo thread was started, as I was at the Crystal City location on Tuesday night. We started with the Marinated fried shark, which was probably the best dish of the night. The shark was crisp on the outside, but tender and juicy once you bit into it. Jaleo displayed another great touch with fried foods with the Traditional fritters of dates and bacon. This was also a favorite, as the flavors all balanced each other very well. I could have eaten a ton of them. We also had the Scallops in Romesco sauce, and perhaps this is an example of lack of consistency between locations. Our scallops tasted fresh and slightly sweet, and were cooked perfectly. The Grilled quail with honey alioli and rosemary sauce was tasty enough, but it is very tough to split a tiny quail between three people. The Grilled beef sirloin with ‘piquillo’ pepper confit would make any carnivore very happy. We also had the Skewer of grilled chorizo on garlic-mashed potatoes, which look like little cocktail weiners but taste nothing like them. The only dish that was a "miss" was the Spanish Mackeral. The sauce was nice and spicy, but the fish was very oily.

Service was fine except when it came to our after-dinner drinks. A tip for wait staff: If I order a red wine, and you bring me a white wine, don’t insist that you brought me the correct wine :P . Our waiter disappeared for 10 minutes and finally came back with the correct wine. Despite this “glitch”, the meal was very enjoyable and would definitely return.

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Service was fine except when it came to our after-dinner drinks. A tip for wait staff: If I order a red wine, and you bring me a white wine, don’t insist that you brought me the correct wine  :P . Our waiter disappeared for 10 minutes and finally came back with the correct wine.  Despite this “glitch”, the meal was very enjoyable and would definitely return.

Pete, what do you mean by insist? Did this person actually argue with you? Try to make you feel foolish? Seems to me that as soon as you say "No, that's not it." they should immediately bring you the wine list again so you can clarify.
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Pete, what do you mean by insist?  Did this person actually argue with you?  Try to make you feel foolish?  Seems to me that as soon as you say "No, that's not it." they should immediately bring you the wine list again so you can clarify.

He sort of argued about it. The conversation went like this:

Me: I think you may have brought us the wrong wine. The wine that we ordered is a red wine.

Waiter: But this is a white wine.

Me: Yes, I can see that this wine is white, but this is not what we ordered. We ordered the Dolce Monastrell here (points to wine on menu), which is a red wine.

Waiter: That is the wine that I brought.

Me: Can you check on that? We had this wine at Minibar a few months ago, and it was red then (at this point I dumped the white wine on him).

Waiter: (drying himself off) Umm….let me check.

10 minutes later he returns with the correct wine.

Waiter: Here you go. Sorry. We have both a white dessert wine and a red dessert wine.

[Just kidding about throwing the white wine. :P ]

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For tapas?  Jaleo.  Hands down.  Don't waste your time elsewhere.  There are many restaurants that serve "small plates" as they say these days, but tapas is Spanish and for the best tapas in DC you go to Jaleo.

hehe, after reading this i feel a little dumb...i should have said "besides Jaleo, which of course has he best tapas in the area."

but yeah, you are absolutely right about Jaleo.

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From an email:

Jose Andres invites you to join him in celebrating the publication of his first cookbook!

Enjoy a very special menu with a selection of Jaleo's award-winning tapas and an autographed copy of:

Tapas: a taste of Spain in America - Clarkson Potter/Publishers - On sale November 8, 2005

$85 per person

(Tax and gratuity not included)

10% of the proceeds donated to benefit DC Central Kitchen

To reserve, please call (202) 638-1910 or send an email

to the link below:

mailto:RSVP@joseandres.com

Thursday, November 10, 2005 @ 7 pm

Jaleo. 2250-A Crystal Drive / Arlington, Virginia

Monday, November 14, 2005 @ 8 pm

Jaleo. 480 7th Street, NW / Washington, DC

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 @ 7 pm

Jaleo. 7271 Woodmont Avenue / Bethesda, Maryland

Edited by cjsadler
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I thought I may as well note some of my experiences at the Jaleo in Penn Quarter. I eat there fairly often, so this is not an exhaustive catalog of what I have tried and found good, but merely a list of some of my favorites and some things that are to be avoided.

Food

Dátiles con tocino como hace todo el mundo. I expected something completely different from the menu description of these fritters--perhaps a chopped paste of dates and bacon. I was very pleasantly surprised. The datiles are pieces of bacon wrapped around dates, dunked in some sort of batter, and then fried. The soft sweetness of the dates, the chewy savoriness of the bacon, and the outer crispness make a tremendous combination.

The arroz y setas con queso Murcia is a warm and comforting sort-of-risotto with woodsy mushrooms covered by a sharp slice of cheese. It was significantly better when it was made with Idiazabal cheese, but remains very enjoyable.

Thick matchsticks of Manchego cheese and tart apples are tossed together with some olive oil for the manzanas con Manchego, a glorious combination of the different tartnesses of the cheese and apples with luxuriant oiliness.

The ensaladilla rusa is a concotion of potatoes, tuna, and egg, chopped up and bound together, topped with slick preserved tomatoes. I could eat this every day for lunch, really I could.

Pollo al ajillo con salsa verde. What I get when I have a hankering for green sauce and the Grill at Galileo isn't open. The pieces of chicken aren't always, however, cut with lack of inedible tissue in mind.

The tortilla de patatas tastes weakly of potatoes. It's so bland as to be positively offensive. It's plainness is of sufficient potency that, eaten with other items, it blanded them. To be avoided.

Desserts. As whenever I go to Jaleo, I order far too much food, I rarely have gotten to the desserts. I have, nonetheless, managed to try the flan and the rice pudding. I thought that the flan didn't seem slippery enough or to have the right almost-jellyish feel, nor much depth of custard flavor. The accompaniments had a far-too-jarring taste of bitter orange. I was quite sad, as I am by and large a great fan of Steve Klc's work at Zaytinya. The version at Guajillo was vastly superior when I last tried it.

The arroz con leche, in contrast, is creamy and rich, topped with espuma and crunchy bits of something or another sweet and caramelly. It is, however, presented very impractically in a tall glass with an enormous spoon. This means that it is just about impossible to preserve any espuma to eat any with the lower bits of rice pudding. It also means that one must turn the glass upside down to get out the last bits of pudding.

Other little details. Jaleo has commendably dark-crusted bread. Less commendable is the bread's tendency toward some slight staleness, probably because of pre-cutting. The pickled onions are dainty and carry a slight switch-blade of tartness. The cappucino seems to be competently made, but with disgustingly stale beans or, possibly, pre-ground coffee. (If you want coffee, the Starbucks across the street is vastly superior.)

Service. Never much better than somewhat distant. Usually not much worse, though sometimes much much worse. Today, for instance: My waiter greeted me, once he had come to my table after a period more than a little excessive for a not-too-busy weekday lunch, by saying "Yes?" He avoided me as much as possible throughout the rest of the meal, assiduously looking away as he came near my table. I had to stand up and wave to him to catch his eye to order dessert. His gracious farewell as he gave me my check was "See ya." His attitude was brusque and surly throughout. By and large things are much better, but you will likely not feel particularly well-served.

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Went to the Jaleo in Bethesda tonight.

We had Pan con tomate y jamón serrano-Spanish imported cured ham with traditional tomato bread, Pan con tomate y queso Manchego-Tomato bread with ‘Manchego’ cheese, Pato con peras-Duck confit with pear sauce, Calamares a la Romana-Fried squid with allioli, Patatas al ‘Cabrales'-Potatoes with ‘Cabrales’ cheese sauce, and Cazón en adobo al estilo de Cádiz-Marinated fried shark like people do in Cádiz, with the Espuma de chocolate blanco con fresas-White chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries, mint & pistachio for dessert.

Most everything was yummy, if a bit overpriced. The shark tasted odd (compared to shark steaks I've had), I think from the marinade, but was very tender. The mousse should have been heavier or lighter, but was yummy. The squid was good, but I had the calamari fritti at Sorriso for lunch yesterday, and that was the one squid to rule them all, so the squid at Jaleo tonight paled in comparison.

The waiter, while very polite and friendly, required flashing lights and signal flags to get his attention, so we tipped rather less than we would have otherwise. It wasn't crazy busy or anything, and he came around a couple times and failed to notice us gesticulating wildly for his attention. He did however, seem to be genuinely failing to notice us, not actively ignoring us, so we didn't leave him a bunch of pennies in a drink glass. :)

Edited by HelDC
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For those interested, Jose Andres is on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU (88.5 FM) right now. :)

Very nice interview. Worth catching off-line @ WAMU.org. Boy does he have a lovely accent and impishness that is captivating! Think I'm going to have to plan a museum visit to justify my Jaleo jones.
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Has anyone been to the Bethesda Jaleo recently? I suggested it to friends for tomorrow, and they said they have had a few disappointing meals there lately. I've only been to that location once and thought it was Ok but not up to the DC branch's standards.

Edited by Heather
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Has anyone been to the Bethesda Jaleo recently?  I suggested it to friends for tomorrow, and they said they have had a few disappointing meals there lately.  I've only been to that location once and thought it was Ok but not up to the DC branch's standards.

Always seems hit or miss to me. I've had some fabulous meals in Bethesda, and some rotten ones in DC. I can't figure out any kind of pattern on days, location, dishes, etc. I was at the Bethesda location a few months back, and had a perfectly nice meal.

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I have to say that for all the moaning about too much Jose-pimping and the overtures of Big Bad Chain, Jaleo in Penn Quarter has always provided good times for me. Especially if you're there on an off-peak, random time like Sunday afternoon - sit at the bar, guzzle sangria, nibble bacon-wrapped goodies - makes you love life even more and forget that there is a Monday. I love the dates, the goat cheese-stuff piquillo, the chicken croquettes, and I am officially in love with their paprikaed octopus.

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I made my first trip to Jaleo (downtown) this weekend with my dad, embarrassed as I was yet again to have never been to the tapas temple.

The food was really quite nice, and I look forward to tasting more some time. Unfortunately that night the service was so abysmal we only got to four dishes before dad insisted on paying and leaving.

The date fritters were, as described here, just delish; the salty-sweet, crisp-chewy combo totally hits the spot for me. And the endive with goat cheese, orange segments, olive oil, and almonds was gorgeous--a terrific combination of flavors and textures and great quality ingredients. The garlic shrimp and cured meats were not spectacular, but perfectly good.

But the service... Oy. It bothered dad more than it bothered me, but it was truly, empirically awful. We were there Friday night, but at 5:00 pm, and the place wasn't even half full when we left an hour later.

Just one example: I ordered the three-sherry sampler. The busser who brought them couldn't tell me which sherry was which and the waiter didn't come back for over five minutes so I could ask him. As I worked my way through the sherries, I realized that two were the same. So I flagged down the waiter, who looked at me skeptically then spent an inordinate amount of time comparing the wines' colors (identical!) in the window. He finally took one back and brought another. It was, of course, the same one he'd taken back in the first place, so I sent it back again. Luckily the third (fourth?) time was the charm, but come ON. Incidentally, for each "send back" it took over five minutes to track the guy down and over five minutes for him to make the "exchange."

I think I'll return, but it will be with no expectations and to the bar where I can watch the pour myself. Sigh.

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Very disheartening, qwertyy.

I will be attending a "mom's night out" at the Bethesda location tomorrow. Not sure whether our dish selection will be terribly exciting as I will be with a bunch of very unadventurous eaters, but will report back tomorrow.

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Last Wednesday my wife and I hit the one in Crystal City (I think the service is better than the DC location, and I find the food to be the same quality (that was not always so). On this trip we went with the heavenly date fritters, the fried potatoes with pepper sauce, garlic shrimp, tuna in anchovy oil, and Serrano on tomato bread. We topped it all off with a pitcher of the Rose Cava Sangria. All of the dishes were a hit. At times the garlic shrimp are a bit over-down, but not on this trip. My only complaint would be that they took away the shrimp bowl before we could sop-up all of the oil with our bread.

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Very disheartening, qwertyy. 

I will be attending a "mom's night out" at the Bethesda location tomorrow.  Not sure whether our dish selection will be terribly exciting as I will be with a bunch of very unadventurous eaters, but will report back tomorrow.

Service in Bethesda can be pretty bad. When I was there yesterday with relatives (their choice, not mine), we waited almost half an hour for half of our dishes. The waitress said "they take longer to cook", but she came back with them 30 sec later, and they had cooled to room temp... The place was no more than 20% full. But to be fair the food was good. Try the seasonal specials of trumpet mushrooms with tomato confit, and the boneless pork rib and wheatberry stew.

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Service in Bethesda can be pretty bad.  When I was there yesterday with relatives (their choice, not mine), we waited almost half an hour for half of our dishes.  The waitress said "they take longer to cook", but she came back with them 30 sec later, and they had cooled to room temp...

That's not good news either.

The last time we went to the Bethesda location the service seemed OK. That said, it was my husband's birthday, we were with close friends that we hadn't seen in a while, and we drank so much wine that our recollections are most likely suspect. <_<

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That's not good news either.

The last time we went to the Bethesda location the service seemed OK.  That said, it was my husband's birthday, we were with close friends that we hadn't seen in a while, and we drank so much wine that our recollections are most likely suspect.   <_<

I think that's the key. Get your drinks first, order the next round before your glass is empty, and just relax, ignore the service as much as possible, and let the night be about food and friends. It can work, and I think it's worth it there.

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I've gone twice recently before catching a movie at the Landmark. When I told my server that I had to be out the door in an hour to catch a movie, they were polite and responsive. Both times I received fine service and made my movie with time to spare.

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I've gone twice recently before catching a movie at the Landmark. When I told my server that I had to be out the door in an hour to catch a movie, they were polite and responsive. Both times I received fine service and made my movie with time to spare.

I'm glad to read that.

A few years ago, at one Sunday lunch when we were trying to catch a movie, we waited so long for our food - after the second, third, and fourth requests - after the manager got involved - that when the dishes finally started arriving the manager came back and told us that the entire meal was on the house. And we had not complained or asked for anything, other than "would you please check on our order?" I believe the problem was a brand-new waiter who lost our order three separate times. <_<

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I received a jury duty summons for yesterday and wanted something beyond Au Bon Pain or Cosi for lunch. The line at Teaism was too long so I headed over to a half-empty Jaleo. Sometimes I like to linger, but I had to get back shortly, said so and they did everything to accommodate. I thought about sitting at the bar, but a table by the window was wonderful for people watching.

A glass of sangria, a plate of tuna and potato salad, a roasted portobello mushroom, and the entire pickle/olive/onion bowl later, and I was ready to serve on a jury. I could have gone for slightly less olive oil on the mushroom, but its garlicky, meaty flavor was delicious. The tuna and potato salad topped with roasted red peppers is just salty enough, soft and comforting. A nice mid-day break with quick service, and I got dismissed from jury duty just after I returned. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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I could have gone for slightly less olive oil on the mushroom, but its garlicky, meaty flavor was delicious. A nice mid-day break with quick service, and I got dismissed from jury duty just after I returned. Not a bad way to spend a day.

the extra olive oil on the mushrooms may be what saved you. it's been a few years, but unless things have improved immensely, you don't ever want to be stuck on a case where they force you to eat prison food at the cafeteria on the premises. in general, to win their cases most lawyers are looking for jurors who bring their own lunch, or patronize food stands, fast food spots or chinese dives. jaleo would be on the list of places drawing suspicion.

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The lunch grill at Galileo gets all the attention, but days it's not on you should really check out a lunch sandwich at Jaleo. The tapas always gets the attention but the sandwiches are fresh, big, tasty and affordable. As Tony would say, they're grrrreat.

It's been months since I've sat at the bar at downtown Jaleo for lunch and when I have, it was always the butifarra sausage with mushrooms and a fried egg on brioche. I think I wrote about it earlier. I went for something different today and was very happy: the bocadillo de pollo. A sandwich of fried chicken breast stuffed with Spanish ham & cheese and served with red pepper mayo, bacon, greens, and tomato. The chicken was hot and juicy. The bread was fresh with a crunchy crust and an inside that was softened due to the mayo and the tomato and chicken juice. And people....there's two kinds of pig in here! Comes with a side dish of your choice and I opted for my favorite, the Spanish potato salad. Chunks of potato like an everyday potato salad, but with slices of green onion, big honking pieces of egg, some romesco (I believe) and a nice slice of roasted red pepper draped across the top. All this for $7.95. Add on a glass of sangria or plenty of Spanish rose by the glass.

Enjoy Roberto's grill tomorrow, but come Thursday and Friday check out the lunch sandwiches at Jaleo. Sit at the bar and say hi to Diego, the accomodating and friendly bartender who'll do right by you. Seriously. It's a great deal.

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How is the paella in Bethesda (or at the other locations)?

I lobbied for Urban Bar-B-Que, but got shot down so we're headed here for dinner instead.

Did you have a chance to eat paella yet?

I had it 3 years ago and it was very salty and not impressive. I would like to know if they improve the quality.

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Did you have a chance to eat paella yet?

I had it 3 years ago and it was very salty and not impressive. I would like to know if they improve the quality.

Have you ever sat in a vineyard in Jumilla and had paella? The pan heated over grape vines, the rice gently stirred by the farmers wife, the rabbit just shot in the vineyard, and skinned by the wine maker? Well I have, and Jaleo is comes the closet to any paella I have had in America. The crispy burnt rice on the bottom of the pan, the layer of congealed fat that holds the heat in on the top of the paella. Salty is a taste preference, what may be salty to you may not be to me, what may be sweet to you may not be sweet to me. Go back 3 years is a long time.

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Have you ever sat in a vineyard in Jumilla and had paella? The pan heated over grape vines, the rice gently stirred by the farmers wife, the rabbit just shot in the vineyard, and skinned by the wine maker? Well I have, and Jaleo is comes the closet to any paella I have had in America. The crispy burnt rice on the bottom of the pan, the layer of congealed fat that holds the heat in on the top of the paella. Salty is a taste preference, what may be salty to you may not be to me, what may be sweet to you may not be sweet to me. Go back 3 years is a long time.

Maybe I didn't explain enough for you to understand but what I meant was like this:

I asked Silentbob if he had it in Bethesda location because he posted the message in May 30, which was while ago. I had Paella at Jaleo in DC and it was very salty. I don't need any explanation about what Paella is because I know what it is.

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It's actually challenging to sample a cross-section of their menu when you know beforehand that two of your small plates will be dedicated to the croquetas and the patatas bravas. Need bigger stomach.

I haven't had paella in Jumilla yet, but easily half of the paellas I've ever eaten were prepared by my friend and former boss, a slightly mad Catalan math professor. Every last one was cooked over fire, and I don't think we ever took less than 90 minutes from warming the pan to squeezing the last lemon when the shrimp on top were just barely done. Some of that is probably my fault, because I'm kind of slow at cleaning whole squid. I would say that the Bethesda Jaleo's was passable but not remarkable, and nowhere as good as what the Taberna del Alabardero used to turn out under Zubikarai, partly because I prefer paella with more of a seafood emphasis than a meat emphasis.

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Jaleo has ham croquettas. I like ham croquettas.
Oh man, the little fried things at happy hour. Sometimes you want tasty little fried things, and Jaleo has that covered. Ham croquettas, date and bacon fritters, bacalo fritters
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We went to Rasika for dinner last night, but since we are complete flakes we didn't have reservations and had to settle for (several) (delicious) cocktails at the bar while we decided on another place.

Jaleo it is!

The food was, as detailed by many other customers, delicious--date fritters, patatas bravas, manchego, gambas... Wonderful stuff. I was not as enamored of the tortilla and the croquetas, but my dining companions were, so no biggie.

The service was, as detailed by many other customers, ridiculous. Our server was actually the most competent I've had there--not too bad. But just as we were about to order from him, flamenco music started blaring out of the speaker directly above our table. At first we thought someone had hit the wrong button on the stereo, but it persisted, so loud we could not even speak.

Finally, a woman from the next table and I went up to the host stand to ask that they turn it down, but they wouldn't. Said it was for the dancers. It would only last ten minutes, and it would not happen again for forty more minutes.

Um... Are you freaking kidding me? We had to point to menu items to order. The four of us sat, wordless, exchanging bemused expressions and not much else. We couldn't actually see the dancers from where we were sitting either.

So we decided against ordering another round of tapas and fled to the Chop House for a nightcap before the music started again.

Has anyone else experienced this? Do they do this every night? Does the management actually believe that contributes to a pleasant dining experience, or are they just trotting out kitsch for the tourists?

If this is a regular thing, I'll think twice about returning for dinner--definitely not between 8:00 and 9:00!! :)

ETA: By the way, this was the first time I ever had Jaleo's fabled sangria. I found it unpleasantly watery and flavorless. Did I get a bad batch?

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I stopped by Jaleo last night (DC location), had a couple tapas, had a couple standbys like the bacon wrapped dates, but the real standout was the boneless pork rib with roasted peppers...lovers of pork belly will appreciate this dish.

The soft shell crab tapa that was on special was rather disappointing, I'd skip it.

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having sampled the storied and fabled and damn near mystical cured pig products from the piggy adoringly referred to en la espanol de extramadura (woe betide those pititful destitute "farmers" (of pointless and lifeless and sedentary stone) as "pata negra", i will say this, laconically and thus leaving you more time to haul that a** down to jaleo: go. now. never in my storied years have i sampled a pig with as much flavour and wonderfullly tasty leucodermic "meat" (though some may say fat: fools) as that of this pig. prosciutto, jamon serron, jambon de bayonne, speck, black forest ham, smithfield. they may rot in safeway-sponsored hell for all iam concerned; a tootoo short spell living amidst london's varied attractions intorduced me to this product and suddenly, ham and melon just doesnt taste the same- nay nothing does. these are pork products that the gods themselves should've just kept to themselves, for they surely regret their decision to release to us mortals, the mathematical conclusion being that now they have that much less to enjoy. perhaps with some ribera del duero: for i find it to go exceedingly well with this beast of unicorn-like stature.

re: the sangria. has definitely been dragged down to near tgi friday's depths of mass produced carnal corporate capitialism since its transition into the "wunder-bar" gun; approach with caution.

ps: be sure to order to iberico de bellota, these being the pigs of extramadurean origin and, not only of the black berkshire and ossatau isle breed but also, and this being the straw that broke the gastronomic camel's gullet, finished on a diet of acorns resulting in an increase of body weight in excess of 100%. you will not complain.

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re: the sangria. has definitely been dragged down to near tgi friday's depths of mass produced carnal corporate capitialism since its transition into the "wunder-bar" gun; approach with caution.

Yikes! I have never been a big fan of their sangria and this certainly will not help.

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Yikes! I have never been a big fan of their sangria and this certainly will not help.

Their red sangria is nothing special, but next time you're there try the white sangria - only available by the full carafe and made with a cava base. It's excellent.

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having sampled the storied and fabled and damn near mystical cured pig products from the piggy adoringly referred to en la espanol de extramadura (woe betide those pititful destitute "farmers" (of pointless and lifeless and sedentary stone) as "pata negra", i will say this, laconically and thus leaving you more time to haul that a** down to jaleo: go. now.
Do you know if this meat is available at all locations? How was it prepared?
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Do you know if this meat is available at all locations? How was it prepared?

i would assume it be to be available at all locations but iam unsure of this. as to the ruby lusty gems served on the bellota plate, i was served a slivers of a cured leg a la jamon serrano or proscuitto, a salchichon and a fiery carmine paprika ignited chorizo.

go.now.

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I'll vouch for the quality of that magnificent pork platter (and sadly, also for the decline in the quality of the red sangria). Personally, I prefer the cava sangria, but my friends tend to be scared off by the one carafe commitment. Weak.

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The iberico/bellota that we had as part of a late lunch Saturday was indeed super-delicious. It will not seem like much meat for the money. It isn't. But the four slices of iberico you get for $12 are unlike any other pork product you've had before, and the other meats on the plate are also delicious. Put me right back at the counter of a tapas bar in Madrid.

The old standbys are still good, particularly the croquetas, although the chorizo with mashed potatoes has a fattier, milder chorizo than I remember. The duck in nectarine sauce, spiked with star anise, was a real star.

Great service. Superfast.

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I haven't been to Jaleo in years, but I had pleasant memories of meals at the downtown location. Unfortunately, that isn't the case for my experience last night. After reading through this thread, I feel like either a)I'm missing something, b)it was an off night, or c)we were dining too late in the evening.

Arriving at the Crystal City location shortly after 10pm, I asked if they were still serving and was told they served until 11pm. The space is beautiful, bright and airy, with lots of pretty details like the multi-colored glass shades hanging over part of the dining room and the painted tiles in the ladies room.

I don't mind closely situated tables, unless some inconsiderate lout is (loudly) holding forth both in person and on frequent incoming cell phone calls. This was the case, so we asked to be reseated. This was done promptly and without complaint, which we appreciated. Our server was very nice but we immediately had a misunderstanding that didn't become apparent until a few minutes later. The Iberico I had read about here was on the specials menu, so I asked about it (what is it, is it good, etc). My inquiry was apparently (mis)understood as an order, because a plate appeared before we had ordered drinks or anything else. I declined it and explained to the runner, and later to our server, that I hadn't ordered it and had simply been asking about it. My question, BTW, had basically gone unanswered - maybe that should have clued me in to a potential problem.

We were asked if we wanted to order more tapas before our original (slow-in-coming) order arrived, as the kitchen was closing soon (this was at around 10:45pm). This was a reasonable question, but hard to answer without having received the original food. We declined.

We ordered: Patatas Bravas - I remember these from that long-ago visit as nice, and most important, CRISPY potato chunks. Ours weren't crispy and may have had a little heavier dollop of alioli than is usual. Atún crudo con aceite de anchoas (Raw tuna with anchovy oil and pine nuts) - The presentation was nice, but again, a heavy hand with the anchovy oil drowned out any tuna flavor. Arroz con setas y queso Murcia (Traditional rice with mushrooms and Murcia cheese) - I felt like this had been pulled out of a leftover container and reheated. The rice was lacking in flavor (except for the slightly chlorine taste I detected - maybe just plain old water was used to prepare the rice instead of stock). Mushrooms added some chewy texture but no flavor to speak of; the cheese was the only element in the dish with a distinct flavor. 'Esqueixada' de bacalao (Shredded salt codfish with tomato, black olive oil and mixed greens) - This was probably the item I liked best, but that's not saying a whole lot. The crushed tomatoes were a nice touch, but again, a heavy hand with the oil/dressing overpowered the dish. Datiles (date and bacon fritters) - I had anticipated these with excitement as I remembered the raves here. Personally, I didn't care for them - they also seemed to have been reheated or have spent some time under the heat lamp. Not very fresh, but I can imagine that freshly fried they might be very tasty.

Perhaps it had to do with the time we were eating, but I just had the impression that we were getting the leftovers from the end of the night or that the line had already been broken down. The food we received was definitely not on par with what others have described in previous posts.

Service was also somewhat lacking. After being dropped by a server, sugar packets sat on the floor next to a nearby table for the remainder of our visit. A nitpick maybe, but not something I would expect in an establishment of Jaleo’s caliber. Our waiter never came by to check on us after the food was dropped as he was engaged in a lengthy (serious-looking) conversation at the hostess stand throughout our meal. The Iberico showed up on the bill after I had explained at least 3 times that I didn't order it. When I asked about the charge, it was removed.

Based on the posts above, my experience, at least food-wise, seems to be an anomaly. I hope so, because it's so convenient and I know the potential is there. Maybe we'll try again for lunch or an earlier evening meal. Is the downtown location more consistent?

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