Earlier this year, Masa 14, a Latin-Asian inspired restaurant in the U Street neighborhood, opened up a sleek yet comfortable rooftop. Wood benches and tables cover the outdoor space, and the center area is decorated a variety of vegetation. As summer winds down and autumn arrives, there is no better time for enjoyable and elegant outdoor dining. Owner Richard Sandoval recently appointed Adam Goldman as new executive chef of the restaurant, and Goldman makes his debut with a slate of new fusion dishes and drinks, nightly specials, and a "Melting Pot" special menu series.
When I went to Masa 14 with Guy, we sampled a variety of appetizers and chose their specialty mixed drinks. It was an experience full of different flavors, colors, and texture. First up, Guy tasted "Autumn on 14th," a bourbon-based cocktail with balsamic syrup, brown sugar, and ginger beer garnished with fresh basil. The ginger beer gave the drink a refreshing bite, while the whiskey warmed the stomach recalling memories of alcohol's ability to warm you up on a cold night. I tried "Masa Smoked Cider," which in the beginning took a bit of time to get used to because whiskey is not my favorite alcohol, but the drink became better with each sip. Mezcal, cinnamon-infused whiskey, and mulled apple cider are mixed together and topped off with a lemon wedge.
The drinks complemented the appetizers well. We had a roasted beet salad, wok stir-fried mussels, cornmeal crusted oysters, and salmon tartar. The fusion elements in each dish were there but not always apparent. In any case, they were delicious and rich. My favorite were the oysters. Fried, but not fried to a crisp. The oysters were juicy and light and came with a green papaya slaw and pickled fresno chilies. We also tried the cream of corn soup, which is the only appetizer that could use some revision. It has great taste with the drop of cayenne chili oil, but the texture is too thick and heavy. With or without food, we had a relaxing time on the roof feeling temperatures slowly drop from summer to fall.
And now with three nightly specials, Masa 14 is an ideal location for gathering with friends and coworkers. Look forward to half-priced bottles of wine on Mondays, all-night happy hour on Tuesday, and "Femme Fatale" Thursdays, during which Washington's leading female DJs spin music for guests. Chef Goldman has also created a special menu, the Melting Pot menu to showcase the evolution of cuisine across Latin America and Asia, highlighting how foreign cultures have mingled and melded cuisines overtime. For the month of November, Chef Goldman is preparing "São Paulo," which will highlight the Chinese and Japanese influences on São Paulo, Brazil’s culinary landscape, dating back to the Colonial Period. São Paulo has the largest Asian-Brazilian population in the country.
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