Image: Salads on marble.
Last Updated: September 2023
Do you ever find a restaurant that feels like you are being let in on the secrets of a cuisine? Spanish may not be the same as French, Italian, or Chinese in terms of ubiquity in the States, but it is prominent enough that we know the hits. Shrimp in olive oil with garlic, tortilla of egg and potato, and patatas bravas need no introduction for most. At Joselito, the menu skips past those Iberian warhorses to other dishes, sometimes with an added bit of the chef’s personal touch. It may not be exactly what you expected, but it will likely leave you happy.
Instead of gambas they serve squid with chick peas and broccoli salad with a creamy almond sauce, a composed salad is made of artichokes, green apple, prawns and cayenne pepper. Don’t get us wrong, they also serve Manchego, jamon, and octopus, but be prepared to explore and experiment. The menu reflects a perspective of southern Spain with lots of seafood served both hot and cold. The family pictures from owner Javier Candón that decorate the space are a nod to his father Jose, the restaurant namesake who was from a small coastal town near Seville. Experimentation by diners is facilitated by the ability to order dishes in small, medium and large size – from tapas-sized to family style. David Sierra came over from sister restaurant SER in Arlington and has run the kitchen since opening.
The wine list is short and Spanish focused. They serve a sangria that is a block of fruit frozen in ice that you pour the wine over. It works and is delightful. This is a singular place, carving out a niche and deserves to be supported. Note they do brunch.
It sits in a bright space tiled in black and white around the corner from Eastern Market and on the other side of Penn from Barracks Row. While it is bistro in feel it can be a treat for those making the trek. If you live in the area, I think you would find yourself drawn back for vague reasons that you can’t put your finger on. Then you might order pickled mussels with large beans and remember.
Other Guidance: Located at street level, thought with steps to the bathroom. GF can do well. Vegetarians have multiple options and pescatarians a lot. It is a nice neighborhood spot. You can dress up a little or not at all.