Review: Jaleo

It’s close vicinity to the MCI Center makes this Spanish cocina a convenient locale for dining before a concert or sporting event. Be sure to arrive early because managers are adamant about not taking reservations on the night of a concert or sporting event and the service is s-l-o-w.

Known for its tapas, or “little meals”, the concept is unique and could be fun unless you dine with a disagreeable group. The menu offers cold and hot tapas as well as salads, soups and a few entrees. Waiters and waitresses recommend two to four tapas per person to be shared by the whole table. The easiest way to order is through process of elimination by running down the menu and agreeing as a group on the meals.

Tapas come out sporadically and not necessarily in the order that you ordered them. Each tapa is served on a little plate and has exactly enough food for each person to sample a taste. There is not enough room on the little plate to fit a sampling of each food, and by the end of the meal you are eating scraps that fell onto the table.

The tapas are hit or miss. The duck was tasty, and the sauteed spinach with pine nuts and apples and sweet pepper stuffed with spinach and goat cheese were good as well.

The rosemary lamb chop was over-cooked, and the variety of cheeses was nothing to write home about. The chicken with verde sauce had very little taste aside from the burnt charcoal flavor. Sausages were a crowd pleaser, served on a skewer over a fluffy mound of delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

Dessert is a good idea if you have time to spare, as the wait is long. The apple Charlotte was very tasty, served with vanilla bean ice cream. Homemade ice cream is boasted on the menu but turned out to be nothing out of the ordinary. Almond ice cream tasted more like vanilla than anything else, but the biscotti served with it was good.

Its true the decorator went overboard with the odd and clashing d?cor andtapas are fun though some should be avoided. Overall, it’s a fun little dining experience if you have some time to kill before an evening’s event. Just don’t try to make a reservation because the manager will snap at you, and that’s never fun.

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