Washington DC, mid-morning view of the Captiol Building:
I had heard that celebrity chef Jose Andres’s restaurant Jaleo was great with food allergies a few years back from a blogger in DC, Lady Brett. On Jaleo’s website they do mention that they handle food allergies here but they go way further when you are on-site.
They have taken the 60 items on their regular menu and created individual menus free from six of the top food allergens: dairy, egg, wheat/gluten, tree nut, fish and shellfish. If you have multiple allergies, and most of us do, you need to do your own cross-reference (which is not so easy). Better yet, talk directly with the Chef when possible.
Which is exactly what I did last week to great success. (Disclosure: I interviewed Chef Ramon Martinez for an upcoming article and they were expecting me for lunch.) Chef Ramon proved to not only be hospitable and passionate about the Jaleo menu and Spanish cuisine (he’s from Spain), he was also compassionate, clearly concerned for my well being and knowledgeable about food allergies, cross-contamination and the inherent dangers. I gave him my full list (nuts, seafood, a bunch fruits and vegetables) and he handpicked our dishes, presenting each at the table and giving me a list of every ingredient. I was in food allergen heaven by such personalized treatment.
And then there was the food: Executive Chef and menu creator Jose Andres likes salty and sweet; most every dish had those two elements intermingling. Most often sweetness was provided by fruit, both fresh and dried; sherry vinaigrette or sherry based light sauces lent some acidity; and salty was provided by flecks of ham in most everything. Below are the plates that I had - this was only a small portion of the menu.
Cheese and apricots:
Tortilla de patatas al momento:
Seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese:
Sautéed cauliflower with dates and olives:
Warm brussels sprout salad with apples, apricots, grapes and Serrano ham:
Homemade grilled pork sausage with sautéed white beans:
I can't wait to return.
Thank you Jaleo and Chef Ramon for a lovely afternoon!
480 7th Street NW,