Joselito is Javier and Christiana Candon's second restaurant, and in some ways it's the opposite of their first.
The couple opened SER in Ballston in 2015 serving traditional Spanish food in a modern setting. Joselito, on Capitol Hill near Eastern Market, will serve modern takes on Spanish food in a more traditional setting.
Opening Monday in the old Sona Creamery space, Joselito isn't a tapas restaurant, chef David Sierra said. The menu, featuring about two dozen items divided between hot and cold dishes, will draw inspiration from all over Spain with contemporary flourishes. Sierra doesn't plan to go all El Bulli — the famed modernist Spanish restaurant that served the likes of flowers pressed in cotton candy — but diners can expect creative techniques, including an olive oil dust used as a garnish on smoked cod.
Other dishes include a mussel and octopus salad, Wagyu with chimichurri and habas con chocos (lima beans with cuttlefish), the favorite dish of Candon's father, for whom the restaurant is named. Most dishes will be available in three sizes: small (tapa), entree (media ración) and family-size (ración). Diners can also opt for a family-style tasting menu of $50 per person.
“We're not trying to innovate,” Javier said of the dish sizes, “because that's the way it is” in Spain, his home country. “In Spain, they make it easy for you to eat,” Christiana said.
Joselito's beverage program is another nod to Spain, featuring Spanish beers on tap, sherry, cava and a variety of other Spanish wines. Javier crafted the cocktail list and will offer his own liqueurs, including spirits infused with huckleberries or herbs.
Beginning Jan. 15, Joselito will host a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Rather than offering a limited menu, it will feature a 20 percent discount on all food and drinks.
And as for the traditional setting? It's meant to echo the turn of the century cafes of Spain, with a black and white palette of Spanish floor tiles and marble tables. The walls are full of photos from Candon's family for a cozy, lived-in touch. The restaurant seats about 70 inside and 20 on the patio.
Joselito, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-930-6955. Opening Monday for dinner daily; lunch begins Jan. 12.