Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bless the Spaniards. Jaleo Bethesda is Under Rated.

People speak of Jose Andres' restaurants like Zaytinya and Minibar as what's happening and where the innovations are taking place in his realm. They may be correct, but sometimes getting back to the roots of what made the man a success is in order. It started with tapas. My father and stepmonster came to town this weekend and asked me to make us reservations somewhere in the mid-range for prices and fun. I hadn't been to Jaleo Bethesda in a few months so I went to Opentable and made a reso. It was a good move. Here's Dad with shrimp legs hanging out of his mouth...more on that in a bit.
Here's an overview of the spread we started with...
The ever-popular cheese sampler. Love the apricots too.
These are special shrimp. You suck out the heads, then eat the rest shell and all. Slightly reminiscent of soft-shell crabs.
This is pressed caviar. We were instructed by John-Paul, who is the Exec Chef here, to spoon some out and wrap it in a small piece of the very special ham we ordered...
It was some very special pig. Lovingly raised and fed nothing but acorns. The fat in this cured pork melts at body temperature. Very tasty.
We left feeling we'd definitely got our money's worth.
Everything was good and there were no disappointments. We had a nice bottle of wine and a dish that looked so good that I dug in before I took a picture, which was a suckling pig roasted, pulled, formed, and stuffed with dried fruits and crushed nuts. Wow.
After all that it was still less than $50.00/person.
The vibe that night was very up-beat and there were a lot of families with children, so don't be afraid to bring the little ones.
Note that a few of the items shown above are not on the menu, so you'll have to ask John-Paul for them. That's one of the perks of knowing the employees of the establishment. Introduce yourself to the chefs at your favorite restaurants. They'll remember you sometimes and it can be very rewarding.
Thanks for reading.
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