3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/9/13
Jose Andres is probably known best for his whimsical, molecular gastronomy creations at The Bazaar (including Saam Room) and Minibar, but he does cook a lot of more traditional fare as well – Jaleo is his version of the Spanish tapas restaurant of his homeland.
There are four Jaleo restaurants across the country, though this Las Vegas branch is the only one not in the Washington D.C. area. Located in The Cosmopolitan Hotel, it sits on the same floor as Scarpetta, STK, Estiatorio Milos, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Comme Ca, and the “secret” pizza place.
The menu is vast, covering over 75 items across meat and cheese plates, land, sea, fried items and paella. Paella are made in a separate paella pit within the main dining room, allowing all diners to watch an impressive display while the paellas cook. Apparently the ventilation system alone cost $1 million, preventing all of the smoke from suffocating diners. Clearly, paella is serious business.
I’ve dined at restauarant-within-the-restaurant é by Jose Andres and left impressed. This would be my first visit to Jaleo proper.
Butifarra Casera Esparracada homemade pork sausage stew with mushrooms and pearl onions
Carne Asada Con Piquillos ‘julián De Lodosa’ grilled skirt steak with piquillo pepper confit
Chorizo Casero Con Puré De Patatas Al Aceite De Oliva homemade traditional chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes and cider sauce
Setas Al Ajillo Con La Serena sautéed wild mushrooms with la serena potato purée
Tortilla De Patatas Clásica spanish omelet with potatoes and onions
Coliflor Con Olivas Y Frutos Secos sautéed cauliflower with dates and olives
Croquetas De Pollo traditional chicken fritters
Costillas De Cordero Con Romesco grilled lamb ribs with romesco sauce and green onions
Empanadillas De Brandada De Bacalao ‘empanada’ of cod brandade with honey
Arroz Con Costillas De Cerdo Ibérico De Bellota made with the ribs of the famous, black-footed ibérico de bellota pig
José’s Tuna Salad a salad of preserved tuna, mayonnaise, shallots and hard boiled eggs on flauta bread
Flauta bread brushed with fresh tomato, extra virgin olive oil and Jamón Ibérico
Gambas Al Ajillo the very, very famous tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic
Vieiras Con Salsa De Romesco seared scallops with romesco sauce
My favorite dish had to be the lamb ribs, imbued with a nice smoky flavor. Tender and kind of fatty, these went down easily with the subtle heat of the romesco. Another favorite was the chicken fritters served in a shoe (fun yet awkward). Crispy on the outside and hot and fluffy on the inside, these had a delicious chicken and potato flavor to them. The skirt steak carne asada was another popular item at the table, with the tender piece of steak complemented well by sweet piquillo peppers. The paella had a bunch of very crispy bits from the pan (slightly controversial among the family), but I liked the texture and depth of flavor it brought to the dish. Overall I liked the paella, but I wanted more meat – the few pieces we had were on the bony side.
Less successful was the flauta with jamon iberico. The bread was very chewy (felt kind of stale) and the prized ham got lost in the mix. The Spanish omelette was another I wouldn’t order again; the egg-potato-onion mix was a little bland and boring.
We shared a couple of desserts to complete the meal.
Flan Al Estilo Tradicional De Mamá Marisa Con Espuma De Crema Catalana a classic spanish flan with ‘espuma’ of catalan cream and oranges
Pastel De Chocolate Y Avellanas chocolate cake with hazelnut praline ice cream and salted caramel sauce
Both desserts were simple and satisfying. The very light flan, scented with vanilla bean, was my favorite and an appropriate end to the Spanish meal. Chocolate lovers wouldn’t be disappointed by the chocolate cake, however.
I found the meal at Jaleo to be good. Nothing stood out as extraordinary, but the restaurant offered a good to way sample a bunch of different Spanish flavors. I’m not sure I’d return for a full meal, but it’s a great place for a few drinks/bites before heading to the club (Marquee) or a show.