I decided to end 2017 Winter Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week at two José Andrés restaurants. Andrés, a favourite of the Obamas, is a two-time James Beard award winner, the chef generally credited as “the man who brought tapas to America”, and the culinary consultant for the TV series Hannibal. He taught a culinary physics course at Harvard (with Ferran Adrià), hangs out with Anthony Bourdain, and is being sued for $10 million by a certain short-fingered vulgarian.
Last year, President Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal.
When Michelin published its first guide for Washington last fall, four of the 19 restaurants on its “Bib Gourmand” list—restaurants where you can get two courses and a glass of wine or a dessert for $40 or less—were Andrés restaurants.
And it all started at Jaleo.
Andrés calls Ensalada rusa “the ultimate Spanish tapa”. It’s a simple but filling salad made with potatoes, tuna, and mayonnaise.
The chicken fritters, another standard tapa, have crunchy exteriors and soft, moist fillings.
This was the best dish: Pork loin over sweet, caramelized roasted onion, with a Valdeón bleu cheese sauce. I’ve had the Ensalada rusa and the Croquetas de pollo many times, but I’d never tried this before. A standout.
I pretty much stuck with the classics this meal. I ended it with this Spanish custard with
‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges.
As always with José Andrés restaurants, I got a varied and tasty meal. In retrospect, I wish I’d been a little more adventurous in my selections.