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The Flavors of Spain on a small plate

By Sandy Vigil
Award-winning Chef, José Andrés, brings the spirit of his native Spain to the Cosmopolitan in palate-tempting tapas. Jaleo’s manages to accommodate everything from fine dining to cocktails with the office crew after work.
The ambiance at the bar is laid back with screens to catch your favorite sport events. Comfortable seating in the dining room invites guests to settle in for cozy intimate chats or you can elect to dine in more traditional booths and tables. Large groups may want to plant themselves on top of tree stump stools. My personal favorite is the salad prep bar seating where you can watch all of the cold dishes being prepared. Each plate the chefs send out is an individual work of art. Even the smallest detail is given the precision reminiscent of the Operation board game of my youth.
Once you have found the perfect seat, on to the perfect meal. Starting with the Verduras—or green vegetables–I simply cannot leave Jaleo’s without having the Endivias con queso de cabra naranjas. More simply put, it is the Endives with goat cheese, oranges, and almonds. These little boats of artistic delicacies are creamy, crunchy, and irresistible.
For a really fun appetizer (and to watch the expressions of the people you are with) order the chicken fritters. They are served in a bowling shoe! Besides being a real conversation starter, they are melt-in-the-mouth good.
Another fabulous starter is the toasted rustic bread with fresh crushed tomatoes on top.
Next is the seared Norwegian lobster with jasmine air and Romesco dressing. While I await the arrival of the lobster tail, I am filled with curiosity about the jasmine air. I picture a jasmine blossom and cannot figure out how air can be made out of it. Curiosity does not kill the cat at Jaleo’s; it gets you a chat with one of the chefs who will enthusiastically educate you about how the tapas are made or the ingredients in it.
If petite plates of food are not your style; in other words, if you want a big plate, they offer a variety of fish, seafood, and their legendary acorn-fed black-footed Iberico pigs from Spain.
I prefer to dine lightly to save some room for coffee and dessert. Coffee is served in a French Press and the wait staff serves it exactly to your taste. A triplet mini hourglass timer shows brewing times for light, medium, and strong coffee (or tea if that is your preference). When your time is up, the wait staff pours a perfect cup for you.
Dessert is nothing short of sinful here, and each one is meticulously hand-prepped when you order it. The dessert menu is as diverse as the dinner menu. Selections range from apple tarts to olive oil ice cream with grapefruit. I chose the chocolate hazelnut cake with praline ice cream and salted caramel sauce: light, creamy, air-like cake and dark chocolate to soothe even the most savage chocolate monster with salted caramel that provides a flawless constrast.
Like most of the creations at Jaleo, it is almost too pretty to eat. Notice I said “almost.” Dive in!
Hours of Operation:
Open 7 days
Sun-Thur 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri-Sat 5:00pm to 12:00am
Head Chef Rodolfo L. Guzman Aranda
Price: The dinner presented cost $37. Most tapas cost from $6 to $25.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-698-7000
website: www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com