This past weekend I left the Big Apple and ventured down to Washington DC to visit friends — Brittany and Curtis. I can’t believe the two of them are moving all the way to the West Coast, so this was my last chance to see the two before they head off to LA.
Brittany is a big foodie just like me — I always look forward to her visits here in New York City because we always end up exploring the city and wining and dining. So, naturally I knew that Brittany had a restaurant or two in mind for my trip down to DC.
The night I arrived we went to Masa 14 — a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant with the perfect tapas servings. I can’t tell you how much I love tapas, it allows you to not only sample a little bit of everything but it also bonds everyone at the table because you are sharing the same food. Tapas is the perfect way to bring a group together.
We really chowed down — so get ready for lots of pictures (and I’ll be sure to keep the explanations short and brief).
Lets start with the crispy shrimp — served with chipotle aioli, sesame, scallion and masago. The texture was perfect, exactly what you look for when you order crispy shrimp. And just take a look at this plate — it’s full of color, and when you see color I can guarantee you that the flavors will be bold!
There was a lovely selection of flatbreads so it was tough to pick which one would be best. We ended up going with the Wild Mushroom Flatbread that’s served with Oaxaca cheese, red pepper and avocado. The bread turned out perfectly crisp on the bottom and the avocado’s texture balanced out the bread’s crispiness.
The fried okra was actually the first thing that we ordered and it was gone in about 45 seconds once it hit the table. Perfectly fried means it was nice and crispy on the outside and flavorful on the inside. The dipping sauce made with ginger, basil, garlic and chilies added the perfect spice to the mild-fried okra. This is a must order dish if you go to Masa 14!
You might think that the last thing you should order from a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant is french fries — but you’d be a fool not to here! The fries were potatoey just the way I like them (I hate when fries are thin and crispy and there’s no soft potato left in them). They were served with one heck of a dipping sauce made with chimichurri, garlic and a lime aioli dipping sauce. This lime aioli dipping sauce has inspired me to experiment in my kitchen — I’m determined to recreate this! The lime brings such a refreshing taste to the fried potato.
Another winner on the menu was the Mole Dusted Tenderloin Medallion that was served with mustard potatoes that added a beautiful spice to the plate and mixed in with the potatoes were some edamame. The meat was placed on top of a cilantro-mint chutney — this was the highlight! I have never had such an amazing sauce on beef before. It wasn’t “rich” the way every other meat sauce typically is, it was light and fresh.
Another must-order is the crispy crab won ton rolls that are stuffed with cream cheese, corn, mushroom, shiso, truffle, and spicy ponzu. Need I say more? I think the ingredients do all the talking! I would have been happy to continue ordering these crispy won ton rolls all night long. Any one who eats at this restaurants MUST order these!
I don’t usually eat pork, but I decided that one big bite of it wouldn’t hurt. We ordered the Angus Beef and Pork Meatballs. Perfectly moist and drowned in a delicious sauce, these meatballs were spicy and cooked beautifully. Served with cotija cheese, scallion and smoked tomato yuzu sauce, it makes me want to get into the kitchen at home to try to recreate these using all beef. But, I have a funny feeling I could never beat the recipe from Masa 14.
Overall our experience was unbelievable. Not only was every single plate we ordered perfectly prepared, but the service was fantastic and the ambiance was exactly what you’re looking for for a Friday night dinner. The restaurant was packed the moment we walked in at 8:15 — our reservation was for 9 but the host was so accommodating she sat us right away! When I go back to DC, I would love to eat out at this restaurant again — although I know the experience would never be the same without Brittany and Curtis.