When I first heard the musings around Joselito Casa de Comidas, a new Spanish spot on Capitol Hill, I marked it high on my dining-to-do list. A restaurant’s ambiance is rather important to me—I’m not one of those gals who can feign enthusiasm for a cheesy, cookie cuter space. Whether high-end or low-brow, a restaurant just needs a little bit of character and a whole lot of charm to win me over. Dining is an experience, and therefore the setting matters. I was taken by the beautiful pictures of a black-and-white, vintage inspired space. I just knew it would be perfect for dinner for two.
Moreover, I love Spanish cuisine and I am constantly striving to get out of my Logan Circle/Shaw bubble and to review and experience as many neighborhoods as I can in Washington, D.C.
Located right on Pennsylvania Avenue just southeast of the Capitol, Joselito’s space is ever the more stunning in person, with its romantic low lighting and vintage vibes. The narrow restaurant has a long, classic cocktail bar to the right and low tables to the left. The walls are lined with black-and-white pictures—of the owner’s Spanish relatives—and the floor is a classic black-and-white tile. Black Thonet bistro chairs frame narrow rectangular Carrara marble tables topped with simple, white place settings and lit candles.
On this particularly cold and romantic evening, I was joined by my firecracker of a friend, Cara, and we nestled into a table near the window with two glasses of Spanish wine. The wine list offers a nice selection of Spanish varietals, as well as sherry and Spanish cava.
The first thing I noticed about the dinner menu is it offers three sizes of every dish: tapa (appetizer size), media ración (entree), and ración (family style portion). While many diners tire of tapas, I do not, as I love both Spanish fare and anything that allows me to try multiple dishes. And, much like in Spain, Joselito offered a selection of hot and cold tapas.
As we were women in a Spanish restaurant, we began with cheese. Manchego, appropriately. The year-aged Manchego was served with a spicy yet sweet tomato marmalade and crispy rosemary bread. It was probably one of the better cheese presentations I’ve sampled in my time.
As this was girls night, we selected the media ración of the tuna carpaccio, fresh chunks of beautiful, raw pink tuna topped with an avocado mousse, spring onions, and almonds. It was the perfect appetizer.
As I strive to always order a dish with greens, we selected the five seasonal vegetables. The veggies were asparagus, carrots, zucchini, squash, and peas, roasted and served warm with a green been juice and crumbles of goat cheese.
We also ordered the Wagyu bavette steak, served with roasted potatoes and chimichurri. It was incredible—the steak was moist, tender, and buttery, and rich with flavor. At the chef’s recommendation, we also ordered the grilled Iberian pork shoulder, which was beautifully plated with a light balsamic dressing and some mashed potatoes.
We concluded with two desserts—why not—and glasses of a rather intoxicating brandy, served in the prettiest glassware. First, a Spanish flan, served with fresh, light whipped cream and berries. And, a bread pudding that was sort of a hybrid between bread pudding and a tres leches cake. It was incredibly decadent. In addition to returning for dinner and hoping the restaurant launches brunch, I can absolutely see myself coming back to Joselito late at night for cocktails and dessert at the bar.
Joselito Casa de Comidas
660 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003