Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Washington DC & Baltimore

Belated Val's Day report on Jaleo


Restaurants & Bars 1

Belated Val's Day report on Jaleo

Stefanie | Mar 1, 2004 12:41 PM

I just have to rave about Jaleo. I brought my boyfriend there for Valentine's Day dinner, which was especially special to us since it's also when we celebrated our one year anniversary. It was imperative that the dinner be perfect, so I obsessively checked and rechecked reviews here at Chowhound and on other websites, and reserved a table at several other restaurants, including Bistro Bis and several others, although I was too late to get in at Obelisk...Anyway, I finally decided on Jaleo because of the flexibility of the menu, because both my boyfriend and I are picky eaters, with little patience for pedestrian recipes or heavy handed spicing, etc. First of all, just a funny little aside...when I reserved the table, I asked the hostess for a quiet table...when we got there, the whole place was packed, with a line that waited for over an hour as far as I could tell, except for one tiny little pocket of serenity. They seated us next to a table with two couples of, get this, deaf people, on a V-day date obviously, and signing away madly at each other (and at the wwaitress who seemed just as fluent with them as with us, by which professionalism I was duly impressed). Anyway, whether that was tongue-in-cheek intentional or just a happy accident, we felt like we had a little private oasis of silence in the middle of such a happening joint. The menu is dizzyingly long and varied, and the waitress was understanding of this and refused to even recommend anything until we had had a chance to look for ourselves at what the choices were; only then, when we had some more informed questions to ask, would she offer guidance and suggestions, which I also thought, in the context of the variety of choices and my own unfamiliarity with the tapas style of dining, was very professional. She encouraged us to take all the time we wanted to decide, and offered us the choice of choosing our food one dish at a time, which we did, and were much better able than we might have been to gauge how full we were and what we were hungry for. I had roasted red peppers stuffed with herbs and goat cheese, which was absolutely fabulous, and several other veggie dishes which I don't remember exactly, but which were excellent. My boyfriend had the lobster tail and was very happy. To put it in a nutshell, simply one of the best meals I have ever had in my life, with service to match. We left there with a food buzz that lasted for three you know what I mean, when the food you ate not only tasted so good, but was just the right amount of heaviness and lightness and flavorfulness and everything so that you feel like you are drunk on it?! And speaking of that, the pace of the meal enabled us to drink the entire bottle of a very quiet but complimentary bottle of was a two hour meal in total, between the time we were seated (we got there eight minutes early for a 6pm reservation and were seated by five till 6). Could not have been more perfect for Valentine's Day dinner. Joe H., I wish you and your wife had been there with us, you may have had a better time.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound