Masa 14 is another restaurant with a “scene.” You can go there any hour of the night and not feel like you’re in a ghost town. The brick interior and loft-style ceilings give it the New York City vibe that the owners were going after and fits in perfectly with the 14th-Street scene. The dinner tables stay packed well past 10 PM, and the DJ spins late into the night. If you’re trying to socialize while you eat and aren’t feeling the dining area, the bar at Masa 14 measures up to about 65 feet long. That’s a lot space to post up – and more than enough space to line up those sake bombs.
Masa 14, a joint creation of Kaz Okochi (Kaz Sushi) and Richard Sandoval (Zengo), offers a large Latin-Asian menu of small plates and drinks (check out El Centro opening soon). Sadly, the menu is more Zengo than Kaz Sushi – and I’m not a huge fan of those sushi ice-cream cones. I’d prefer a roll, but that’s just me. Other staples I had high hopes for like the ceviche and the pork buns are pretty disappointing. The creative ideas behind many of these dishes should definitely get some recognition, but the execution is not really up to standard. Nonetheless, it still offers a few great dishes that the D*MNGOOD® GUYS recommend. Namely, the chicken wings, the Serrano ham and Manchego flatbread, the Asian chicken salad, and the black cod. In a nutshell, go with the “less complicated” dishes. This is a fancy bar, not a fine-dining establishment.
I have to elaborate on the chicken wings, though, because they are spectacular. For those who are Cuse’ alumni, you might remember the Terryiaki wings from Dorian’s. I used to eat those religiously. The wings at Masa 14 are the first time I’ve tasted that again since I graduated. They are so good that they break my number one rule for chicken wings (Rule = All wings must be served with Bleu cheese and celery). These wings are served neither with Bleu cheese nor celery, but they are so good that I have to make an exception to the rule. Instead, the Teriyaki flavor is complemented with a sweet-and-spicy sauce for dipping. Because the wings aren’t already slathered in BBQ and/or hot sauce, you can actually get the flavor of the wing with the sauce. The wings, themselves, are very lean, not fatty and crunchy all-around. I literally could eat 50 of them, and maybe I will.
I might go out on a limb here and say the best wings in Washington, DC, are at an Asian-fusion tapas restaurant. Anyone disagree?
|Address:||1825 14th St., NW (Bet. S and T Sts.) Washington, DC 20009|
|Parking:||Street and Valet|
|Serves:||Brunch (Saturday and Sunday); Dinner (Daily)|
|Specials:||Monday-Friday (5-7 PM): $4 Heineken, Newcastle, Dos Equis and Amstel Light drafts; house white or red wines by the glass; margaritas, mojitos, strawberry lemonade and sake sangria; hand rolls, mussels and wings|
|Go for:||Sake bombs; teriyaki chicken wings; pork-belly tacos; flatbreads; crunchy shrimp; wok-seared cauliflower; beef tenderloin|