Everyone wants to like Jaleo, with its cheerful décor, whimsical menu, and festive Spanish theme. But somehow, it stops short from being what you want it to be....
To begin with, servers are always painfully disconcerted, forgetting to check in, failing to refill drinks, acting rushed and confused. They also somehow seem to be defensive and unapologetic.
Food meanwhile is average at best. The cheese plate includes portions of cheese that are so small they might as well be nonexistent. The Tortilla De Patatas Al Momento, which is an egg and potato omelet, is dry and mealy, bland and boring. Espinacas A La Catalana, spinach cooked with raisins, is greasy and soggy, and Patatas Bravas, fried potatoes, are not as crispy as they should be. Berenjenas de miel, fried eggplant, also tastes very heavy, while bread is dry and flavorless and serve with only a sad bowl of what appears to be cooking olive oil. Setas Al Ajillo Con La Serena is the best of the bunch, mushrooms seated on top of creamy garlic potatoes, but it is extremely rich, and while other items are too small, this dish is too large for its decadent nature.
Considering the talents of larger-than-life Jose Andres, Jaleo should be a better experience.
Jaleo, 480 7th Street Northwest Washington DC 20004, (202) 628-7949