There are few times I am at a loss for words when it comes to a dinner.  So this time, after looking back to my amazing meal in The Cosmopolitan, I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

We started off with cocktails, and we had to try their famous iteration of the Gin and Tonic.  Hendrick’s Gin (my personal favorite), Fever Tree Tonic (also favorite), juniper berries, and citrus round this out into easily the best gin and tonic you’ll ever have.

Olives stuffed with anchovy and piquillo, ‘Ferrán Adrià’ liquid olive - Imagine a little balloon filled with the essence of a kalamata olive

Fried dates wrapped in bacon - a crowd favorite, now fried

The first round of tapas was our “appetizer” course.  The olives above, the bacon wrapped fried dates, and Manchego cheese flauta.  The olives, while a good light beginning taste, were also very exiting.  The emulsion they were in complimented and leveled out the strong and complex flavors in both.  The dates were, for the most part, how I would have imagined them.  This is a popular item, showing up on many bar menus and appetizer lists, but usually baked and stuffed with something like a strong cheese or nut.  Frying them had the effect of almost liquefying the sometimes fibrous date, as well as cooking the bacon properly.  The flauta, tomato, and Manchego cheese was all very high quality, despite seeming very Italian for a Spanish tapas restaurant.

Flauta bread, brushed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomato, and Manchego cheese

Pork and foie gras canelones - a unique take on two classics

 

By this time, we had all chosen something that we really had our eye on.  I was drawn instantly to the pork and foie gras canelones with bechamel sauce.  I’ve never really had pork and foie gras together, nor foie gras and a creamy sauce.  I have to say, it was very interesting, and uniquely Spanish.

My dining companions were thinking similarly and ended up choosing the veal cheeks and morels with olive oil potato purée, the seasonal vegetable paella, and the marinated mussels with smoked paprika.  The veal cheeks, I would say, was my favorite of the night.  Just being so perfectly prepared and richly seasoned, they were a dream.  They had sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top, giving it a very special sweetness and spice.

Jaleo is proud of their paellas.  Similar to how some restaurants will have special rules about their risotto or menudo, you have to order this when it’s ready.  Every thirty minutes they make a new batch, and you have to reserve your portion before it’s spoken for.  So, if you think you want to get a big plate of this, decide early.

 

Marinated mussels - The smoked paprika and interesting plating really made this dish a winner

 

Braised veal cheek, morels, olive oil potato purée - In my opinion, best dish of the night

As great dessert courses go, we ordered a great dessert drink.  A full carafe of Sangría de Vino Tinto for the table, and a selection of three desserts were brought out together; apple tart with saffron and apple sorbet, chocolate hazelnut cake with praline ice cream and salted caramel sauce, and a classic Spanish custard with ‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges.

Sangría de Vino Tinto - Finally, a sangria that doesn't taste like alcoholic Snapple!

apple tart with saffron and apple sorbet - Apples at their most amazing

chocolate hazelnut cake with praline ice cream and salted caramel sauce - I know what you're thinking, but it's nothing like Nutella.

Classic Spanish custard with ‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges - King of Flan

Of course I had to end the night with a cocktail!  As it turns out, their Cuba Libré is just as good as their Gin and Tonic.  Jaleo seems to have a penchant for revamping and perfecting classics, an honorable endeavor if there ever was one.  What usually is a fairly humble mixture of rum, cola, and bitters is assembled with an ice sphere, Cruzan Single Barrel aged rum, and mixed with a very high quality and locally produced cola.  Joe’s Cola is a craft soda made with herbs and real sugar by Joseph James Brewery, makers of some very interesting beers as well.  In fact, this week’s beer review will be of their hefeweizen, Weize Guy.  Keep an eye out for that one.

Cuba Libré - Unique, theatrical, and well balanced, you can craft this at your liking to make the best cuba libre you'll ever have

 

Now, I didn’t get to include every single thing we ate.  If I did list it out, this article would be as long as the day is… long.  So, I’ve included a gallery of every picture I took that wonderful night.  I hope that you can set a date and make it out to this absolute institution of tapas.  You’ll then see why Jaleos are popping up everywhere, and why Mr. Andrés is known for being one of the best in the business.