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

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

If you're going to sit at the bar at the downtown location, be sure to say hi to Diego. He's definitely one of the fine bartenders in our fair city.

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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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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.

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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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If you're thinking of dining at Jaleo Crystal City, I have $10 certificates I can email you. PM me your email address if interested. Offer expires August 30.

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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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Jaleo has Ham, I like Ham they also have pig products from Iberico, I beleive they they are the first restaurant in the country to have any of Iberico product. No Jamon Iberico until Jan of 07.

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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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Jaleo has Ham, I like Ham they also have pig products from Iberico, I beleive they they are the first restaurant in the country to have any of Iberico product. No Jamon Iberico until Jan of 07.

There is no ham. Go away! Find your own damn acorns! :unsure:

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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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