A couple weeks before heading to Las Vegas, I read about a dining experience that really caught my attention. José Andrés is becoming one of my favorite chefs and I knew about Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan. I found out that there was a small intimate dining room located in the back of Jaleo where chefs prepare a unique multi-course meal right in front of you using innovative cooking techniques. The restaurant was é by José Andrés. I had to get a reservation!
Reservations open a month in advance and I was leaving for Vegas in less the two weeks. It couldn’t hurt to try. Everything is done via e-mail only. I simply sent them an e-mail asking if they had an opening for Friday night. I mentioned that it would be an amazing start to my birthday weekend. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t, but the next day I received a reply that they did! Awesome! Of course I accepted it. I then received a contract that had to be signed and provided with credit card details to secure the reservation. Done.
There are only 8 seats with two “shows” per night. I was feeling lucky. I even received the Golden Ticket in the mail a few days prior to confirm my reservation. Willy Wonka, eat your heart out!
I showed up for the 8:30pm reservation and told the hostess of Jaleo that I was there for é. A man led me to a table off to the side and informed me that we would just wait a few minutes for everybody to show up. I took a seat and he went over the wine pairing options you can add to your meal. It was tempting, but I passed and chose to order drinks along the way. He presented me with a drink menu on an iPad. Might as well get started! I also had the opportunity to get to know my fellow diners for the night.
I ordered a refreshing vodka cocktail with fresh muddled raspberries, lemon, and rosemary garnish. It was wonderful and gone by the time everybody else showed up.
Once everybody arrived, we were led to a room towards the back of Jaleo. It was a small room filled with interesting decor.
We were politely showed our assigned seat. Notice the two spoons. Almost every course was served with two spoons. It’s the preferred eating method of José.
A warm towel wrapped around herbs and lavender were presented on a mold of José‘s actual hand. We had to laugh.
The team set the stage and welcomed us. They briefly introduced themselves and immediately began assembling our dishes.
They had the assembly process down pat, working together in perfect synchronization to produce each dish.
The first course was Sangria 2015 – frozen red wine with little bursts of fruit presented in a half bottle to be scooped using the two spoons. A nice cool “beverage” to start the meal.
The next course has been sitting in front of us since we sat down. We all thought they were centerpieces, but they turned out to be our second course.
The Branch of the Desert was an edible flower with a dab of piquillo pepper atop an olive cracker branch in roasted cocoa nibs. We were told to break one off and enjoy. Neat!
The next few plates were ready to be served.
The Dado was a die made of raspberry gelée with lemon zest. It was a perfect gelatinous cube with concentrated raspberry flavor.
The “Vidrio” was a delicate candied potato “glass” roll up and served with an anchovy pate. A savory and salty combination.
The Filipino appeared to be a perfect miniature chocolate donut with sprinkles. Of course it was not. It was rich foie gras truffle mousse covered with chocolate and salt. It was phenomenal.
The Pillow was presented on a miniature white couch. It was a fried peanut brittle triangle dusted with spices. The couch was not edible. They’ve actually had people try to eat before. Don’t eat the couch.
We completed Act 1 and it was time to prepare for Act 2. This first act of dishes were on the salty side and really ignited your appetite. Act 2 consisted of bigger appetizers.
We began with the Beet Gazpacho. Gazpacho is typically served as a soup, but they managed to transform it into a sandwich. I carefully picked it up and took a bite. The beet flavored mousse sandwiched between two light airy wafers. Such an intense beet flavor, but surprisingly refreshing and clean.
Watching the Spanish Pizza be prepared was mesmerizing. He carefully assembled all the little components with a pair of offset tweezers.
The pizza was presented in a cute mini pizza box.
The pizza was a delightful fried Parmesan cheese crisp topped with small pieces of delicious Jamon and Ricotta cheese. Wow! I wanted more of these! It was my favorite so far.
The team continued to make the next appetizer.
The Vermut was marinated clams and liquid olives topped with a citrus foam. There were lots of flavors and interesting textures happening with this dish. It was another olive dish I did not mind.
The following dish, Cheese and Nuts, was another favorite. The cheese filled oval was served alongside a spoon of tiny spheres of hazelnut caviar. How did they do that? I have no idea, but it was delicious. We were told to take a bite of the cheese, followed by the caviar, then take another bite of the cheese. The sharp pungent cheese with the savory slightly sweet “nuts” made for a memorable combination.
The Chupito made a nice palate cleanser. It was a cava sangria gelée served on a spoon that instantly burst in your mouth. A refreshing bite!
I noticed a plate of truffle shavings being prepared for our next dish. This caught everybody’s attention and we were eagerly waiting to see how those wonderful shavings would be used.
Edible flowers and those shaved truffles were artfully placed on top of a bacaloa chicharon.
One of the chefs came around with a canister and topped each of our pieces with a fish foam.
It was light, airy, and salty. It was pretty amazing. You really have to be a fan of fish to like this dish since it demonstrated an intense cod flavor.
Beautiful white bowls scattered the counter and the masterful show continued. Liquids, droplets, and chickpeas were skillfully put together. This segment wanted me to nominate this experience as one of the top shows in Vegas.
The Iberico Chickpea was a bowl of heaven. It was a rich savory stew made from rendered Iberico ham with chickpea spheres, diced Iberico ham fat, chorizo, and parsley oil. Every spoonful was an explosion a flavor. I had to add it to the list of favorites.
The show continued. I lost count of the courses around this point. Dark marble plates were used as a canvas for the next artfully prepared dish.
The Txipir Ones was made with pieces of tender squid, onion jelly, and sea air. The chefs preferred it to be called air since it was even lighter than foam. A couple pieces of beet gelée surrounded the squid.
During the squid course, one of the chefs came out and showed off a beautiful piece of Australian Waygu beef.
A fish course was prepared next.
The Platija was a piece a moist flaky white fish coated with fish eggs and served over squid oil.
We couldn’t help but notice a bowl of some sort of liquid being tended to and being kept very, very hot with a blowtorch. Hmmm, I guess we’ll find out what it is soon enough.
That Australian Waygu beef returned.
A tender, perfectly marbled medium rare piece was placed on a plate, sprinkled with sea salt, and served with a side of truffle cheese mashed potato gnocchi.
The beef practically melted in your mouth. I wish it was a bigger piece! The potato gnocchi was nice and creamy.
A big mound of cotton candy came out. Interesting.
The chef started pulling pieces off and placed each piece in an empanada press.
Cotton candy empanadas? Nice! The empanadas were placed on a wooden board and passed around. We each grabbed one.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I pretty much felt uncertain the entire dinner which made it an even more exciting experience.
I took a bite. The empanada crust was regular sweet cotton candy, but inside was a rich creamy filling made of foie gras and corn nuts. It was incredible.
It was time to move onto Act 4: Dessert. The empanadas were followed by Santa Gadea – liquid goat cheese with freeze-dried berries. The cheese was rich. The berries added some much-needed sweetness and tartness.
The cheese course was followed by After Eight Trimbal – a mint chocolate shell brushed with gold and filled with liquid chocolate.
It was sitting on top of crispy cocoa bits. Yummy!
So that liquid that was being watched carefully turned out to be a hot rum tea. It was served in a cute tea cup. It was fantastic.
A small red jewelry box was given to each of us.
I opened it up to find a small gold coated Ferrero Rocher chocolate.
The Yemita was a small lemon tart. Sweet and sour. It was very good.
A small metal hand fan was topped with various small bites.
This concluded the fabulous 21-course meal. It was such a unique and exciting dining experience. What a show!
The bill was presented inside a book. Along with the bill, we were given a copy of the night’s menu with a wax seal.
What a wonderful way to kick off my first night in Vegas! It was now time to meet up with my cousin and see what else this already amazing night had in store. A big thank you to the very talented team of é by José Andrés!
é by José Andrés
3708 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109