Cross another one off our list...
Jill and I have been together for a little over a year and three months. And during that time, pretty much from the first day we met, she’s been wanting for us to go to Jaleo. So, over four hundred days and countless meals later, we finally found our way to Jaleo last night.
Choosing to visit their Crystal City location, I was immediately struck upon entering by its massive size. The ceilings are huge, making an already sizable restaurant seem enormous. We arrived without a reservation, and were able to get a table right away.
Our section was fairly empty, so the service was pretty much on the ball the entire evening. Starting off with complimentary olives and bread, Jill dug into the olives (which are one of my least favorite foods), and I got the bulk of the bread, which I consumed with their olive oil (which tasted much better than your normal restaurant stock variety). The bread itself was room temperature, and the crust was a bit harder than I like, but in all, still a good start to the meal.
Jill started off with a sangria, which must have been good because she gulped it down like water. Both of us got two dishes a piece, which at around $5-6 dollars per was a pretty good deal considering what we got.
I decided to be daring and try something I’ve never had before: sweetbreads. Trying to be brave, and not think about the fact that I was eating veal brains, I dug in, and was pleasantly surprised. Wonderfully creamy on the inside and firm on the outside, it was like a really firm meaty flan – I’m a fan. The sweetbreads were served with a 'pisto Manchego' stew, which was essentially vegetables cooked in oil. The veggies weren’t great, but then again they weren’t really the focus of the dish.
Along with the sweetbreads, I ordered a bowl of mussels, which I expected to be relatively small. Instead, I got a very large bowl of the biggest mussels I’ve ever seen. Perfectly seasoned and really tasty, I enjoyed every bite.
Jill’s two dishes were a plate of cod fritters – crispy on the outside, hot and tender on the inside, and delicious all over; as well as a plate of saffron rice with mussels, which also went over well with her.
In the end, it is easy to see why Jill had been clamoring to visit Jaleo for so long now. The atmosphere was welcoming, the service was solid, and the food was great – definitely worth another trip.
In those fifteen months, we’ve added a number of other restaurants onto our list of “places to visit” – if they’re all as good a Jaleo, we’ll be two fat and happy wannabe gastronomes.
2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
Tel (703) 413-8181
Fax (703) 413-5566
To my credit-- that sangria that I "gulped like water" was a) not that strong, and b) in celebration of my new job. I'm not that big of a mess!
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