I had only ever been to Jaleo once before but that was for drinks with friends. Friday night, 6 of us met around 7 for dinner and I was not disappointed. We decided to order a first round of tapas, look at the menu again for a second round and then see if we were still hungry after that.
Our waitress brought over those bowls of little pickles, olives and pickled onions and I probably could have had a meal of those, the bread and some sangria. They were addictive. First round of tapas was:
Endive with goat cheese, oranges and almonds (I'm not a huge fan of goat cheese but this was delicious, soft, sweet, slightly bitter), grilled asparagus with romesco sauce (I could have eaten this all myself...the asparagus were still nicely firm and the romesco was a great salty counterpoint), spinach sauteed with pine nuts, raisins and apples (I could have gone for more raisins with this dish but it was good), date and bacon fritters (this was a perfect dish: salty, sweet, crispy, soft. Rich, which is why 1 piece was probably enough for me), pork loin with figs and sherry sauce (a nice size piece of pork...the sherry sauce was a little too one-note for me and I wish the figs had been fresh now that it's the season for it; dried figs can be a little too gritty for me), and the marinated fried shark (I've never had shark before and can't quite pin down what I thought of it...one person said her piece was slightly stringy but mine was soft and buttery).
Second round included another bowl of those pickles (we had to pay for the second round but I can't complain about that in the least), potatoes with Cabrales cheese (the potatoes were perfectly crisped at the edges and soft within, while the rich cheese created a lovely sauce), a cheese and cured sausage omelet (I thought the sausage could have used more spice to it but it played well off the cheese), a selection of 4 cheeses (this was the one I wouldn't have ordered had it been just me...they were all good but didn't knock my socks off. I think I'm just not a big cheese plate person), duck confit with cherry sauce (outstanding...the crisp skin covered a large serving of duck confit with a tart/sweet cherry sauce. It was decadent and worth it), a special of cherry tomatoes stuffed with crab meat (these were perfect little bites of tomato and crab, though the crab meat in the center was a bit too creamy. I don't know what it was mixed with but I would have let the crab stand by itself), and a skewer of grilled chorizo on garlic mashed potatoes (also a perfect dish...the spice of the chorizo played great off the creamy mashed potatoes. I loved the crispy bite the sausage had and was glad I snagged two little pieces off the skewer instead of one).
At this point, we were all actually pretty full and opted out of a third round. With a carafe of sangria, two sodas and the 13 tapas, the bill came to $132 including tax and tip, for $22 a person. Not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be and an excellent meal to boot. Our server was good; not pushy and just friendly enough. I liked the energy of the space and despite the fact that we didn't have a reservation, we were seated fairly quickly. I'll definitely return.