Editors' pick

Jaleo

Spanish, Tapas
$$$$ ($15-$24)
Jaleo photo
James M. Thresher/The Post
'

Editorial Review

2009 Fall Dining Guide

By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

Looks-wise, the original Jaleo in Washington is showing its 15 years. But I never visit this Spanish celebration, which counts offshoots in Arlington and Bethesda, that I don't discover a fresh new flavor or five. Think all gazpacho is alike? Then you haven't tried the chilled soup as rethought by this kitchen, which leaves the competition in the dust with a vivid "flight" of four shots of gazpacho, each a different hue: orange (traditional), white (with grapes), yellow (a combination of the two) and red (thanks to beets). Even the fussiest eater can find something to like on the epic tapas menu, where the 70 or so small plates run from house-made chorizo bedded on whipped potatoes to a silky spoonful of sea urchin roe, crisp with minced peppers. Roasted cauliflower tossed with dates and olives will bring a smile to the faces of even non-vegetarians, while carnivores can strike pure gold, thanks to Jaleo's visionary Jose Andres. If there's a meat that makes life more worth living, it's fresh Iberico de Bellota pork, from Spanish pigs fed on black acorns.