100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Jaleo

Full of Spanish-made art, music, furnishings, and, of course, food, the new Jaleo Penn Quarter shows off José Andrés’s commitment to his home country. Photograph by Jeff Martin.

After nearly two decades, José Andrés’s DC flagship no longer
delivers the shock of the new—its small-plates/clamorous-setting aesthetic
has become the default for many restaurants, and even occasional
restaurant goers know about aïoli and
esplette. But the DC Jaleo
remains one of the best dining values in the area—and one of the most
consistent meals, too. A recent renovation has given the dining room a
shot of Vegas excitement and resulted in fresh takes on familiar
dishes—the croquettes now come in a resin shoe, and the dessert menu has
been overhauled to showcase, among other things, the chef’s love of
gin-and-tonics (a bracing, boozy sorbet).
Don’t miss:
Tomato bread; gazpacho; garlic soup with 63-degree egg; fried egg
with caviar; sausage with white beans; potatoes with
mojo verde
and
mojo rojo; chocolate flan with brioche ice cream.
Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner,
Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Moderate.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.