Jaleo

If Spanish avant-garde cuisine is what’s on the tables at Jaleo, then Spanish avant-garde design is what’s everywhere else. Chef José Andrés collaborated with New York’s Rockwell Group, as well as with artist Mikel Urmeneta and designer Juli Capella, to create a space that reflects Andrés’ passion, personality and sense of humor.

The bull in the Mexican wrestling mask (“Motekutli”), for example, was heading to China Poblano (his other restaurant in the Cosmopolitan) when Andrés redirected the movers. A great deal of thought went into everything from the brass inlay that re-creates the shrimp shells and crumpled napkins typically littering the floor of a Spanish tapas bar to the seating height, which is high in the tapeo and tapas bar areas, low in the dining room, making the patrons as much a part of the design as the room’s custom paella ovens.

Hardly an afterthought, the exterior “patio” area features wooden tables, tree-stump seats and, most importantly, a foosball table also known as “José’s Table.”

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Cocktail Culture

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Combining ingredients that are both popular and typical of Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine, Paymon’s general manager Jeff Ecker created a drink that pairs well with the tradition of smoking hookah. With delicate flavors such as mango, coconut, orange and cherry, Ecker notes that it appeals to the female set as well. The cocktail was also featured in 2002 on Rachael Ray’s show, $40 a Day. It has remained on the menu ever since, a testament to the enduring success of this match made in the Mediterranean.

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