Jaleo arrives in River North with tapas, paella and goat’s milk cheesecake – Chicago Journal

José Andrés has been the king of Spanish delicacies in America for nearly 30 years, and Rush was his unique idea in Washington, DC. The restaurant is now nationwide (and shortly world; the Dubai location will open later this yr) and the Chicago outpost opened earlier this month.

The menu is stuffed with Spanish classics resembling pan con tomate, patatas bravas and paella, to call a couple of, however these dishes have been perfected over many, a few years by Andrés and his culinary staff. Their Chicago husband is chef Justin DePhillips, who has labored for Andrés for years at varied eating places, most just lately on the Disney Springs Jaleo in Orlando.

DePhillips joined the Chicago staff as development started in late 2019 — after which, for apparent causes, every thing was placed on maintain. After an extended hiatus, development and growth has resumed and the River North web site was accomplished earlier this yr. DePhillips used the time to re-examine lots of the basic Jaleo recipes—the model has a culinary “bible” stuffed with 1000’s of recipes collected over the many years—and labored with the staff to scale back them to their primary substances. and rebuild them on, higher than ever. “The meals we placed on plates in Chicago has refined the tough edges and we have introduced them again to what they need to be,” explains DePhillips.


An instance of this sophistication is the paella, which is not like any I’ve seen in Chicago. At most Spanish eating places, paella is a large dish served earlier than a big occasion and have to be ordered an hour upfront in order that it has time to prepare dinner. However at Jaleo it appears to be like very totally different – as a substitute of a pan crammed to the brim with rice and toppings, this model is skinny, darkish and extremely flavorful. “A paella ought to be two grains of rice. Individuals like to see a dish stuffed with stuff,” DePhillips laughs. “So it is fascinating to current this big pan with a skinny layer of rice on it; it appears absurd for a US market.” The dish, he says with satisfaction, can now be constituted of begin to end in 18 minutes, however retains all the extreme taste richness.

One refreshing side of Jaleo (particularly for a Spanish culinary geek like me) is that it does not attempt to put a haunted twist on already nice classics. “One among Jaleo’s missions is to convey genuine Spanish meals to the American visitor,” explains DePhillips. “It isn’t that we shrink back from innovation, it is that the genuine dishes of Spain are what they’re, and we’re not attempting to alter them or Americanize them, however to convey them of their truest type.” Patatas bravas are precisely what they need to be – the potatoes should not totally different shapes or lined in chorizo ​​foam. They’re completely crispy double baked potatoes served with a spicy sauce and a lightweight aioli. In the meantime, an heirloom tomato salad completely pairs contemporary tomatoes with Spanish tuna for a lightweight but filling mixture that will make the perfect lunch. Many of the substances are imported from Spain (even all the way down to the tremendous crispy bread), however the occasional Chicago contact. DePhillips modified one of many Jaleo classics, a market fish with stewed greens, with pike from Lake Michigan. “It eats like a mix of a branzino and cod. It has the oiliness of cod, however the wealthy butteriness of branzino,” says DePhillips. “I knew it was a threat, as a result of it isn’t a Spanish fish, however it’s a kind of little ideas of the hat to the place we open, which nonetheless preserves the soul of the dish with out compromising what it ought to be.” to be.”

In all probability my favourite dish on the menu (and this comes from a author who normally skips dessert) is the tarta de queso vesca, a goat’s milk cheesecake for 2. Perfecting the recipe took DePhillips months. Making a small cheesecake with a superbly clean inside and a burnt exterior is a problem, however through the use of parchment paper and a particular pan (and a variety of trial and error), he managed it. “It is solely 5 substances, however the way you deal with these 5 is every thing,” he says. “And if that does not match completely with Spanish delicacies, then I do not know what’s going to.”