Belly Up to the Bar at Masa 14

Written by Anita
December 10, 2009

In the mood to try someplace new? We recently stopped by Masa 14, a joint venture by chef Richard Sandoval (of Zengo and La Sandia, among others) and chef Kazuhiro “Kaz” Okochi (of Kaz Sushi Bistro). Cement floors, exposed brick, and visible ductwork give Masa 14 a cool, loft-like urban vibe. Boasting one of the longest bars in DC (65 feet!), it also provides patrons with plenty of room to belly up to the bar. The best time to do so is between 4 and 7pm on weekdays, when the restaurant’s bar-area happy hour offers a selection of $4 bites and cocktails. Tastes include a spicy tuna hand roll with wasabi, jicama, and scallion, crispy chicken wing with garlic, teriyaki, and sambal, and wok-steamed mussels served in a chipotle-miso broth with ginger, scallions, and bacon. Cocktail specials include sake sangria and (our personal favorite) the mojito traditional. If the bar is packed—which seems to happen frequently in this new hotspot—then opt for a table in the restaurant’s dining room and fill your belly with an assortment of Masa 14’s Latin-Asian small plates. We loved the pork belly carnitas (delectably tender pork belly, topped with a zesty adobo BBQ sauce, juicy blood orange, sweet red onions, and served over a creamy kabocha squash puree) and the tuna ceviche (a light, refreshing mixture of island flavors, including sweet pineapple and coconut). To wash it down, try the Red Star—a tasty concoction that includes Herradura Tequila, Chambord, agave nectar, blackberry puree, and lime juice. Or sample tequila from Masa 14’s extensive menu. We were surprised by the rich range of flavors in the Herradura tequilas—from the light, almost sake-like un-aged Blanco to the smoother, caramel-colored aged (2+ years) Anejo. Desserts are small but satisfying, with a small price tag to match. Our fruity mango panna cotta provided just the right amount of sweetness to end the meal. Want a bite after a night of carousing? Masa 14’s got you covered, offering a late night menu until 1am on weekdays and 2am on weekends. Since it’s mere steps from both the Black Cat and the Studio Theatre, it is certain to attract the post-concert crowd.
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