Arriving to Bethesda around late afternoon, I dropped my bags at my hotel and ventured right back out a couple blocks to Bethesda Row, a shopping center with a pretty impressive line up of retail and restaurant options.
Arriving earlier than my reservation time, I was seated immediately and settled in for a truly indulgent foodie affair. I rarely get to enjoy restaurants of this caliber- especially outside of Baltimore, so this definitely was a true treat.
I was inside only for a few moments, but was enchanted by the eclectic decor, which was eye-catching and definitely set the tone for the whimsical menu that strives for playful takes on Spanish classics.
I opted for an outdoor seat, both the take in the beautiful day and the prime people watching as people hustled and bustled around on a Saturday evening.
Like other Andres restaurants (I have reviewed Oyamel and Beefsteak), Jaleo is really allergen-conscious, having an entire allergen-labeled menu (see it in full here) on hand that covers gluten, dairy, soy, and other common allergens in all of their menu items.
With so many small plate options, I had a hard time choose what to order. My waitress, knowing that I was limited by gluten and dairy actually suggested the special of the day, an heirloom tomato salad. Normally it would have come with cheese- but it was easy enough to leave out, and I went with the recommendation happily.
The tomatoes were unbelievably fresh and flavorful- as summer tomatoes should be. They were joined by lettuce, onion, and olives. Enough dressing was drizzled to add flavor, but not enough to drown the salad. I loved the simplicity of the dish, and that it was a perfect choice to celebrate the flavors of summer.
As my main tapas, I ordered the vieiras con guisantes, or sea scallops with green peas and mint. Though the dish be small, it was mighty in form and flavor, almost too beautiful to eat- but eat it I did. The scallops were wonderfully tender, seared and seasoned minimally to let the scallopy goodness shine through. They sat atop a bed of minty pureed peas, which added a nice infusion of flavor that only enhanced my relishing of every bite. The dish was practically perfect in every way, and I can attest that it is the best preparation of scallops I have ever had in a restaurant.
Jaleo definitely impressed me with the dishes I sampled. My one caveat is that Jaleo is pretty pricy. I will definitely not be a regular here, but will definitely come back for special occasions- especially with a group because I want to sample the gluten-free paellas which serve 6 people. However, the prices do correspond with quality, as my meal clearly shows.
I loved how the staff were allergen friendly, noting my needs from my Open Table reservation- a rarity that has only occurred a couple times before (one such occasion being at another Andres restaurant (Oyamel). I left definitely impressed, and love the peace of mind that comes with dining out knowing you are in good, allergen-aware hands.
Address: 7271 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Ideal For: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Price: See prices here
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible.
Price: See prices here