Jaleo - Jose's Way Tasting Menu
Before we ordered Jose's Way, we asked to see the menu for The Experience vs. Jose's Way. Each menu was presented as a chart, with substitutes for various allergies. In the pic, one can see the regular tasting menu and the tasting menu for those with egg allergies. They did point out everything was from the regular menu. So the tasting menu was just a lot of different tastes, with smaller portions.
The first 3 dishes were straight from the former Minibar: (1) 'Ferrán Adrià' liquid olives, (2) La Serena cheese and quince paste cone, and (3) Salmon tartare and trout roe cone. See picture.
The next to arrive were (4) 3 Iberico hams and (5) pan cristal - toasted slices of bread brushed with fresh tomato. I didn't finish the bread, to save room.
The third wave included (6) oyster gin & tonic, and (7) Salpicón de cangrejo - lump crabmeat with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and brandy sauce. See pic.
The fourth group included (8) endives, goat cheese, oranges and almonds, (9) Roasted sweet onions, pinenuts and Valdeón blue cheese, and (10) potato salad with imported conserved tuna, carrots, peas and mayonnaise. See pic.
The fifth group included (11) croquettes, and (12) Coca con erizos de mar - crusty cristal bread topped with butter and sea urchin. See pic.
Next was (13) egg and caviar.
Followed by (14) Spanish mackerel in escabeche marinade - shaved thin like carpaccio, and (15) sauteed spinach.
Then (16) Solomillo de ibérico de bellota con manzanas - Grilled fresh tenderloin from ibérico pigs, and (17) Pimientos del piquillo Don Julian de Tolosa con grasa de jamón ibérico - Sweet red pepper confit with ibérico ham fat.
The last 2 savory dishes, just in case you weren't already full, were to fill you up with (18) sauteed cauliflower, and (19) paella of chicken and mushroom.
The first dessert was 3 cheeses, then chocolate flan, and gin and tonic sorbet.
The food was $95, wine pairing $30 - I was stuffed. We didn't finish every dish. Overall - very good food. We did see Jose in the restaurant but he was in street clothes.
Afterwards, we went to Barmini to top off the night.
The liquid olives are olive juice encased in alginate. It's briny, like the olive juice you might pour into a dirty martini.
The gin and tonic oysters are like oyster shooters with gin and tonic.
I liked the onions but among so many courses, they didn't stand out. If we're to sacrifice certain dishes in order to save room, we'd sacrifice the vegetable dishes.
And the paella, because it was cooked in a small pan, was al dente.
One dish that sounded much better than it tasted was the egg and caviar. The egg was broken up at tableside and mixed with the caviar. I wouldn't order it for $16.
You know...I was never a big fan of Jaleo until last week. Maybe it was just the right place at the right time, but I'll tell ya, it all worked.
This was the Bethesda location, and we sat on the right side of the door which I liked better. The place is well laid out with tables in a variety of rows/settings, so it doesn't look uniform at all. Nice big windows looking out over the street. And a large bar set up and back that works out so that you hear and see the vibe, but it is not at all distracting to the diners.
Second, he runs a very polished operation. From the hosts to the bussers to the waitstaff, they are expert. Everytime I lifted my head an inch, someone was immediately beside me asking what they could do. Service was fast, but not too fast either.
The wine list is chock full of spanish selections and all at a good price.
Soem of the dishes we liked:
Toasted Bread with Tomato
Manchego Cheese & Cana de Cabra
Gin and Tonic Oysters
Cold Mussels w Diced Vegetable Vinagrette
Chorizo w Olive Oil Potatoes
Creamy Rice w Mushrooms