More than meets the eye

More than meets the eye

Bachelorette parties aren’t typically synonymous with big dinners, but my friends know that any party of mine is going to involve copious amounts of dining. With Las Vegas on the horizon, I was particularly interested in checking out the killer culinary lineup at The Cosmopolitan.

As a New Yorker, hometown transplants like STK, Milos and Scarpetta weren’t nearly as exciting as Jaleo and D.O.C.G. — the hotel’s secret pizza haven that is open until 5 a.m. (which, unfortunately, wasn’t late enough after a long night of dancing at Marquee).

Visually, Jaleo is unique to The Cosmopolitan’s restaurant row. There is no frontage to the eatery, but rather the muted David Rockwell-designed public spaces segue into the bold, brilliant hues of Jaleo’s flamboyant décor.

Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

My last Jose Andres experience was at The Bazaar in Los Angeles, which was nothing short of revelatory. While Andres is best known for his ability to re-imagine the ordinary, he is equally talented at perfecting the classics. 

Jaleo showcases Andres’ simplistic side by paying homage to everyday Spanish tapas like Patatas Bravas and creamy Croquetas. The meal begins with toasted Pan con Tomate. Draped in velvety prosciutto, you’d be hard pressed to find it better elsewhere — Spain included. 

The same rings true for the Gambas al Ajillo, sweet butterflied-shrimp drenched in a decadent garlic sauce. 
Gambas al Ajillo

The parade of small plates continues with fried bacon-wrapped dates, piquillo peppers stuffed with sweet Dungeness crab and Alcántara-style squab with truffles and foie gras. 

Piquillo peppers stuffed with sweet Dungeness crab

Cooked over a wood-burning grill, the Valenciana Paella is the special of the evening. Artichokes, green beans and rabbit confit interlace crispy saffron-scented rice. 

The heavier dishes are offset by gorgeous vegetables dishes: wilted spinach with golden raisins, warm Brussels sprouts salad with apricots and Serrano ham, and slices of fennel and apple dressed in lemon juice and olive oil. While Jaleo may appear to be a porky paradise at first glance, there is certainly much more than meets the eye.
Warm Brussels sprouts salad with apricots and Serrano ham

Sparkling Cava sangria accentuates every savory morsel — the perfect precursor to chilled shots of Milagro. Dinner aside, this is a party, after all.