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

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I wanted to write and tell Jaleo fans that we are offering Pinxto Hour on Monday evening from 5pm until 7pm. Pinxtos are fairly elaborate hors d'oeuvres from the Basque region of Spain and they are delicious! Usually they are concoctions of octopus, tortilla patata, eggplant, smoked salmon, duck confit, or trout roe salad on top of toast. We are offering them at $1.50 a piece and combined with our drink specials ($3.50 for sangria, beer, or a glass of wine) that's $6.50 for a drink and two hefty hors d'oeuvres. Come visit us!

Also, to Heather, we have a new pastry chef coming on board soon, so look for new and improved desserts soon!! :mellow:

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Also, to Heather, we have a new pastry chef coming on board soon, so look for new and improved desserts soon!! :mellow:
Excellent!

Is Steve Klc no longer associated with Andres' restaurant group?

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We went to the Crystal City location tonight after staying away for a year+ due to service and consistency issues- what a pleasant surprise!! The menu was updated and creative, the food was spot-on, and the service was great! To commemorate their 15 year anniversary, they brought us an amuse of white asparagus gazpacho, which was delicious. The standout tapas were the sauteed cauliflower w/olives and dates (this was so good that I plan to recreate it at home), piquillo peppers stuffed w/goat cheese, and a seared cod dish that was served with white grapes and a light white wine sauce. My boyfriend had a squid served w/some an ink sauce (he said it was delicious and I believe him since I never got a taste) and the baked canelones stuffed with pork and foie gras, which had great flavor but it was hard to discern any foie gras. Dessert was good but not great-I had a molten chocolate cake flavored with some kind of tea. It was prepared beautifully but I found the tea flavor to be too much with the rich chocolate. My boyfriend had the apple charlotte, which had nice flavor but was on the mushy side and needed to be warmer. All in all, it was an extremely pleasant night at a restaurant that we had all but written off and is now back on our rotation!

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I had a late lunch/early dinner at the DC Jaleo last weekend. With all the tourists in town, that's a good time to go--4:00 or 5:00. Service was pretty solid, the sangria was exactly what the day called for, and the food was on point. Along with my usuals of bacon-wrapped dates and garlic shrimp, our favorites were the artichoke, black olive, and orange salad (merely "good" unless you get a bite of everything on the same fork, which makes it excellent) and the wild mushroom rice (gorgeous in taste and texture, but wildly rich--don't get this unless you've got a good apetite on).

Incidentally, another favorite, the celebrated patatas bravas, are being made differently now. They still have the same excellent aioli and tomato sauces, but the potatoes are now served as chips rather than chunks. I was skeptical on seeing it, as thick, house-made chips can either be soggy or leaden, or both, but except for a few poor souls at the bottom, these were simultaneously crisp and chewy and addictive. The new style makes it more of a nacho-type dish, probably more popular with groups, but I think it works. And, even if just on principle, I'm happy to see a successful restaurant making the bold move to change up a proven, successful favorite. Change is good, right?

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Incidentally, another favorite, the celebrated patatas bravas, are being made differently now. They still have the same excellent aioli and tomato sauces, but the potatoes are now served as chips rather than chunks. I was skeptical on seeing it, as thick, house-made chips can either be soggy or leaden, or both, but except for a few poor souls at the bottom, these were simultaneously crisp and chewy and addictive. The new style makes it more of a nacho-type dish, probably more popular with groups, but I think it works. And, even if just on principle, I'm happy to see a successful restaurant making the bold move to change up a proven, successful favorite. Change is good, right?

The husband and I had the new patatas last night and were very disappointed. The spicier tomato sauce is nice, but the chips just don't soak up the sauces the same way a good potato chunk does. And because we were dining at the Crystal City location, where the kitchen sends out dishes in bizarre order (cold soup appetizers brought out last?) and too quickly, the chips had gotten soggy by the time we got to finish them.

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Last summer, Jeleo (downtown) was serving a drink concoction of Hendricks gin, lemonade (from a seltzer bottle) and maybe something else. Anyone know the name of the drink? The recipe & proportions? We were back earlier this summer and they didn't have it again.

Thanks!

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Swung by Jaleo after an afternoon at the National Gallery (Pompeii exhibit, while packed, was medicore, unless you are into marble busts of dead Romans)...anyhoo...

the star tapa was the braised boneless pork rib with potato puree, falling apart pork capped with a melting layer of fat. oh yeah!

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Have I missed something, or does Jaleo not appear in the DC dining guide?

Regardless, they have one of the best dishes they've ever served on as a special right now (it was once a regular item that, like the boquerones, inexplicably disappeared): the beef tripe stew with braised beef, blood sausage, chorizo, and chickpeas. This dish alone is worth a visit to the Penn Quarter location. I'm told it will be gone shortly, so get it while it's around.

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Swung by Jaleo after an afternoon at the National Gallery (Pompeii exhibit, while packed, was medicore, unless you are into marble busts of dead Romans)...anyhoo...
During the Roman Republic (pre-Empire), aristocratic male heads of households paraded through the streets dressed in togas and the death masks of their ancestors so as to embody the deceased patricians of their family. Think of it as a procession of the living dead, long before anyone thought to make zombie movies. At this time, marble busts were based on these masks. One place for displaying busts in households was upon shrines where food was left for the spirits of household gods. At least, this sort of macabre stuff makes the otherwise dreary tedium of one portrait after another a bit more interesting for some of us, especially when you consider how flinchingly realistic likenesses of elite citizens were laboriously and expensively produced in a form previously reserved for rulers, philosophers and what not.

* * *

This Sunday at the Dupont Circle farmers market, Jaleo will mingle local food (goat cheese) w Spain in celebrating clementines, a featured ingredient for a week at their restaurants. Chef at Market events are scheduled to begin at 11 AM.

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Gaius Caligula, you will succeed me. I will nurse you like a viper in Rome's bosom...we will eat supper at Jaleo and make a list, a longgg list!!

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Dear Jaleo,

I had no idea that you take private parties and close your restaurant on a walkup basis! What a wonderful convenience for those of us looking for a spontaneous way to put together a meal for 30, 40, 50 people when it absolutely, positively has to be done right now! How else can it be explained that the restaurant was closed for lunch today and I didn't know anything about it until we hiked all the way over in the strong wind and pulled up to the door and were informed with a sign that said "sorry for the inconvenience."

Naturally, if this party was planned in advance, you would have made mention that it was closed on your website, which I just so happened to check right before I left to go to Jaleo today! That would be the same website that has an "events" listing that would have told people you were closed for lunch today. (That is, of course, if you had known in advance you were going to have a private party that would close the restaurant.) That would be the same website that encourages visitors to sign up for your email list. The same email list that I'm signed up for where you give me news of happenings at your restaurants. I'm sure if this closure was planned in advance, you would have let me and your other interested customers who like to stay in touch with Jaleo know that you were going to be closed for lunch today via email. I gotta say, I feel terrible for those restaurants that don't have the strong web presence and ability to communicate with their customers in advance about closings. I wonder what they do?

You're closing today without me knowing allowed us to sample some of the other fine restaurants in the Penn Quarter area. I was actually pretty pleased where we ended up. (I'm sorry, but it wasn't Oyamel, Atlantico or Zaytinya). I may have to go back to this place a few more times to try other things on their menu. And Wagamama is opening soon, I guess! That will be a great new spot to go to for lunch. I'll miss the superb bocatas that I've raved about for quite some time now online and off. But next time I need to have a party and close a restaurant on the spur of the moment, you can be sure I'll be back at Jaleo! After all, what's a little inconvenience to customers? F 'em, I say!

Buen Provecho! :lol:

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On December 26, DC Jaleo was surprisingly the only restaurant in the area with no wait for seating. They currently have a lovely salad of spinach, orange, pomegranate, goat cheese, and olive on special. We enjoyed it very much with the red pepper, eggplant, and onion dish and the paprika sausage and cheese omelete. My standby of bacon-wrapped dates and a new choice of battered shrimp were oddly undercooked, but the service was very friendly, and surprisingly efficient.

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Dunno if this is common knowledge but we were at Jaleo last night and they had a special. A substantial list of hot tapas for $4 each. Only at the bar and only between 4:30 and 7:00.

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Dear Server at Crystal City Jaleo,

I'm sorry I didn't catch your name, but I wasn't much inclined to after about three minutes into our interactions last evening.

After greeting my two girlfriends and I and asking if we had experienced tapas before, you patiently explained how tapas work...even after we had told you that we'd been to Jaleo numerous times. But then when taking our order of two tapas dishes each per your guidelines, and I ordered the bacon-wrapped dates and the patatas bravas, there was really no need to look me dead in the eye, raise your eyebrows and say, "Well! We're not watching our weight tonight, are we?"

Well, first of all...no "we're" not. And second, I will not be consuming these items by myself. I will be partaking in all the dishes ordered by the table...remember how that works? What with the sharing and the trying different things and all? So I will also be having artichokes and shrimp and asparagus and all the other things I'm sharing with these two lovely ladies. You also managed to insult the rest of the table by telling three women in their late twenties that "There's no need for me to check your IDs...you're clearly old enough to drink!"

And finally, when my friend says right off the bat that she is an Arena Stage staff member and politely presents her discount card and business card, there's really no need to give her a hard time about using it, joking how it will affect your tip. It's your attitude that is affecting your tip, buddy. Do you not appreciate the extra business that Arena Stage has brought to your establishment by making a temporary home in Crystal City?

Luckily, the food was delicious and it was convenient to run off to the show after we got the check. But next time? We'll be down the street at McCormick's, where the food isn't revolutionary, but the service is friendly...or at the very least, not rude!

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After greeting my two girlfriends and I and asking if we had experienced tapas before, you patiently explained how tapas work...even after we had told you that we'd been to Jaleo numerous times. But then when taking our order of two tapas dishes each per your guidelines, and I ordered the bacon-wrapped dates and the patatas bravas, there was really no need to look me dead in the eye, raise your eyebrows and say, "Well! We're not watching our weight tonight, are we?"

Holy mother of pearl. :D How did you refrain from going ballistic?

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Dear Server at Crystal City Jaleo,

And finally, when my friend says right off the bat that she is an Arena Stage staff member and politely presents her discount card and business card, there's really no need to give her a hard time about using it, joking how it will affect your tip. It's your attitude that is affecting your tip, buddy. Do you not appreciate the extra business that Arena Stage has brought to your establishment by making a temporary home in Crystal City?

This is off the charts, really. And no, you CAN'T make this stuff up. Who's watching the store here? There was some talk in another chat about the uneven service in Jose Andres' places - that when you get the bad server, things are truly horrible. I think you landed the worst!

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This is off the charts, really. And no, you CAN'T make this stuff up. Who's watching the store here? There was some talk in another chat about the uneven service in Jose Andres' places - that when you get the bad server, things are truly horrible. I think you landed the worst!
Wow! Never had a problem with the Jaleo in Penn Quarter. This is almost surreal. Are they doing a revival of Monty Python and looking for someone to do "a really obnoxious waiter" skit?

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What makes it even worse, for me, is that I've always really enjoyed Jaleo at both locations and have talked it up to other people quite a bit. I've experienced mild service problems there before (forgetting items, bringing me the wrong wine), but those were always taken care of quickly and politely. I probably will be back, but it won't be my go-to for pre-Arena Stage dining.

And to answer how I refrained from going ballistic...I rested comfortably on my charm and stunning good looks, per usual. He's the one with the problem, not me!

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Dear Server at Crystal City Jaleo,

I'm sorry I didn't catch your name, but I wasn't much inclined to after about three minutes into our interactions last evening.

After greeting my two girlfriends and I and asking if we had experienced tapas before, you patiently explained how tapas work...even after we had told you that we'd been to Jaleo numerous times. But then when taking our order of two tapas dishes each per your guidelines, and I ordered the bacon-wrapped dates and the patatas bravas, there was really no need to look me dead in the eye, raise your eyebrows and say, "Well! We're not watching our weight tonight, are we?"

............

And finally, when my friend says right off the bat that she is an Arena Stage staff member and politely presents her discount card and business card, there's really no need to give her a hard time about using it, joking how it will affect your tip. It's your attitude that is affecting your tip, buddy. Do you not appreciate the extra business that Arena Stage has brought to your establishment by making a temporary home in Crystal City?

Luckily, the food was delicious and it was convenient to run off to the show after we got the check. But next time? We'll be down the street at McCormick's, where the food isn't revolutionary, but the service is friendly...or at the very least, not rude!

I hope you at least stiffed that waiter!

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I've experienced mild service problems there before (forgetting items, bringing me the wrong wine), but those were always taken care of quickly and politely. I probably will be back, but it won't be my go-to for pre-Arena Stage dining.

Those are mild service problems? You're certainly a far more patient person than me! :D

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Um, I didn't want to have to "go there," but I assure you that there is nothing to be "brutally honest" about when it comes to my girlish figure.

Maybe this isn't a server problem...maybe it's more of a menfolk/foot-in-mouth situation! :D

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