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all photos: Stephanie Breijo, all words: Svetlana

If you’re a fan of Jaleo (and lets face it-who isn’t?) you’ve noticed that the 7th street location has been undergoing a renovation. Over the years everything about the place from the amazing happy hour to those dates wrapped in bacon, made it easy to see why Jose Andres’ small plates emporium stayed as popular as it was when if first opened, even in the fickle DC foodie universe.

However, times they are a-changin’ and with them, the Chinatown flagship needed a little facelift to stay as young and fresh as it deserves to be, especially in the face of the ongoing on-slaught of new small plates/tapas establishments around town.

And the wait if finally over-as of NOW Jaleo in Chinatown is softly opened to customers (just in time for the (pre) weekend happy hour rush) and so we popped in to check out what you can expect to see (and eat and drink) when you drop by now. And we definitely liked what we saw.

The re-done eatery channels a much more modern Spain. Designed by Andres’ friend Juli Capella, the restaurant is brimming with vibrant colors, mod-ish furniture and more playful details throughout. And not a single painting of a matador in sight.

For fans of the food-you’ll be glad to know that most of the menu has stayed the same (as did the prices) but there are some fun new editions like the pisto manchego, and the 5-7pm theatre menu has been beefed up and will go for a great deal of $25. Andres’ mixologist-in-charge Owen Thomson revamped the cocktail menu to feature a spruced up gin & tonic list (with seven different variations of the classic), and the cocktails separated into “commences” (befores), “continues” (durings) and “concludes” (afters) making it easier for the diner to make selections on pairings.

Is it after work yet?

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