Change abounds at Masa 14 (1825 14th Street NW) where a new-ish (it opened in May) patio features an updated menu and a new executive chef is on board.
At a rooftop reception on Sept. 17, restaurant partners Richard Sandoval, Kaz Okochi and Ivan Iricanin introduced Adam Goldman who’s at the helm of this popular Latin-Asian-inspired restaurant that’s been a 14th Street mainstay since it opened in the fall of 2009.
Goldman graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Norfolk, Va., in 2003, but Goldman has always been interested in the culinary arts.
“I grew up cooking with my mom and grandma,” says Goldman, “but I started really cooking about 13 years ago at Boy Scout camp when the cook at camp refused to make meals for vegetarian campers.”
After graduating Goldman started working in Rockville, Md., where he served in numerous positions at Addie’s Restaurant. Goldman says he has experience with all types of cuisine since starting his career, “from barbecue to fine Italian.” He joined the Masa 14 team two years ago and served as sous chef under former executive chef Antonio Burrell.
Goldman believes that the new rooftop at Masa 14 will bring a different clientele and a different flair to the restaurant. It offers a different type of menu as well — it’s designed so patrons enjoy bites that can be eaten with one hand while enjoying a beverage with the other.
The new rooftop is impeccably done and on a warm autumn evening a couple dozen people, including a guest and myself, kept the patio buzzing with activity. We were served tasting portions of five of the six new dishes that were recently added to the downstairs dinner menu prepared by Goldman. We were also handed two delicious new fall-inspired drinks. The Masa Smoked Cider made with Mezcal, cinnamon-infused whiskey and mulled cider and the Autumn on 14th, which is bourbon, balsamic syrup (yes like balsamic vinaigrette in a drink) brown sugar and ginger beer. Just to make sure that I liked them both, I consumed two of each over the course of the evening. These drinks were rich and warm, perfect for the fall and they paired very well with the spicy flavors of the bites that were served.
Goldman says he loves the Thai flavor profile, “sweet, spicy and salty hitting all the right taste buds, without one being overwhelming.” Goldman wants to keep with the Latin Asian theme of Masa 14, but also introduce different styles of cuisine with this theme. The new flavors can be tasted in the new items we dined on. The cream of corn soup with sweet corn tomato relish, scallion lump crab and cayenne chili oil is a tasty example of the Thai flavor profile, this was also my favorite dish at the reception.
Other great new dishes include the roasted beet salad with curried goat cheese, the wok stir fried mussels with aji Amarillo cream sauce and crumbled chorizo, and cornmeal-crusted oysters with green papaya slaw and pickled Fresno chilies. Finally, there was the perfectly balanced salmon tartar with roasted red pepper, green mango chimichurri and togarashi-toasted wonton crisps. Both my guest and I had a couple servings of the salmon.
Goldman’s favorite new item on the menu however, is none of the items we tried at the reception — the brussels sprouts. He came up with the recipe just a couple days before the new menu was premiered.
“If you want to try them you will have to come back,” says Goldman. There seem to be plenty of reasons to go back to Masa 14. They have new drinks, new food, a new patio, and of course a new executive chef. Goldman brings his unexpected and spicy flavors to this Latin-Asian fusion restaurant that brings fine dining in a laid back atmosphere to 14th Street.