Sunday, July 23, 2006

Jaleo, Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda

7271 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel (301) 913-0003
Fax (301) 913-9137

For a Google map, click here.

During the 25 years that I have lived in the Washington area, Bethesda has really changed. Whereas then, it had the atmosphere of a suburb, today the downtown area is lined with modern restaurants. The weather was gorgeous today, and all the restaurants seem to have facilities on the sidewalk.

I am a little suspicious of tapas bars outside Spain. Often a restaurant that can command about $16.00 a plate will divide the portions into four and charge $8.00, thereby doubling revenue. Sometimes, these tapas have nothing to do with Spain. This place is so good, however, that they can be excused! Besides, the food is genuinely Spanish.

Partly because we had a surfeit of food at home, we stopped just for a couple of tapas. I had a cochinillo ($8.95), a tenderloin of suckling pig surrounded by mushrooms and dried fruits. We also had a Patatas Brava ($4.95), fried cubes of potatatoes with two sauces -- an aioli and a spicy tomato sauce. Terrific bread and olive oil was thrown in and so was a very nice dish of olives, cornichons, and pickled onions.

We washed these tapas down with a very good sangria. Our total bill for the two tapas and half a jarra of Sangria was $25.00

Other items on the menu include croquetas de jamon y pollo ($5.75), pato con peras (duck in a pear sauce) ($7.50), pollo al ajillo ($5.50), and chorizo casero tradicional ($6.50). Go to Jaleo's website for a full list.

I have lived in Spain and traveled around it for years. The food here really tastes like you are in Spain, and the atmosphere is great. On Monday night, they have Sevillanas dancing, and on Tuesdays they have other music. We will definitely return here for a longer and more complete meal.

They have an extensive range of good Spanish wines, including an old favorite Prado Muga Enea, 1995 ($75.00). They have thoughfully sorted their Riojas into Rioja Modernos and Riojas Tradicionales to help diners know whether to expect the traditional light syle of heavily oaked Rioja like Muga or a CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva, 1981 ($95) or a more fruity, full bodied wine, such as the Flor de Pringus, 1996 ($82).

Just in case, this seems that all their wines are on the high end, I did notice that they were selling Las Rocas de San Alejandro. (Click here for my comments) for $32.

They have
other branches in Washington (480 7th Street, NW) and in Crystal City. I have been to the one in Washington, which is equally good in food, service, and atmosphere.

This restaurant is highly recommended. Great food, genuine Spanish food, and great fun!

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