Another old stand-by that deserves more raves here than it gets (Steve excepted). After failing to persuade my dining partner to try Faryab (Kliman raves and I've never been) or Indique at Friendship Heights, we ended up at her favorite, Jaleo.
I know that since Jose Andres has stretched himself thin, the quality at the Jaleos and Zaytinya (not to mention Oyamel), can at times slip a bit. (Perhaps it matters who's manning the particular kitchen on a given night?) But when Jaleo is operating the way Jose designed it, boy it's indispensible -- a meal that would justifiably draw huge crowds in NY or SF, and at much lower prices than you'll find in those cities. (I agree with Steve that the downtown location seems to be the most consistent, but this Bethesda meal was as good as any I've had on 7th Street.)
This was our fabulous, off-the-cuff repaste:
-- Oxtail and mashed potatoes
-- Their standard duck and pears, which I had never tried, but with respect to which our server was correct: one of the best things on the menu
-- A special of wild mushrooms with garlic scapes (as good as it sounds)
-- Clams with a parsely sauce (the weakest itm in the bunch, but still good)
-- And their standard romaine and anchovy salad, which was a great, refreshing starter
Also, a glass of wonderful amontillado to make it all go down smoothly.
Of course, as most of you know, this barely scratches an extraordinarily varied menu, and skips over some proven winners (not to mention Steve Klc's desserts -- hard to pass up that basque cake).
Special kudos to our server, Claudia, whose advice was impeccable.