In Northwest DC, summer has started creeping in little by little. Signs to look for include the increased number of joggers, different local produce, and rooftop seating. Masa 14 is one of the places taking advantage of the nicer weather. Their newly remodeled rooftop has classy seating with lots of chic wood and elegant black fixtures. For those interested in planning a special occasion, Masa 14 does rent either half or the whole rooftop. If it’s bad weather, the bar has glass accordion doors that can fend off the precipitation. The rooftop at Masa 14 is a great place to relax after work or enjoy lunch over the weekend. Eating or drinking on the rooftop allows you to escape from DC without leaving the city. The restaurant blends Latin and Asian flavors in a fun new way. Their rooftop has its own specialty menu, which I was invited to taste last Tuesday.
I began the tasting with a particularly good sangria. The Pimm’s sangria consists of cucumber, sparkling wine, ginger, Pimm’s liqueur, and lemon. Cucumber and the Pimm’s make this drink unique, and the ginger and lemon add a refreshing note. I would recommend a Pimm’s sangria for those warm, humid nights DC tends to have.
The Crunchy Rooftop Handroll arrived in a long wooden holder and the rolls resembled ice cream cones in shape. The Latin flavor definitely found its way into this fusion food. The nori cone gets a little sushi rice, topped by pico de gallo, shrimp, a tangy lemony aioli, and is finished with crunchy chili tortilla strips. I really enjoyed the handroll and would order it without a doubt.
Before going to Masa 14, I had never tasted a caipirinha. Now that I’ve had one, I must admit I’ve been missing out. The national drink of Brazil mixes sugar-cane rum, sugar and lime. I had the Lemon-Basil version (using housemade lemon-basil syrup) and it was delicious. The drink was sweet but not sugary, and the lemon and basil contrasted nicely with each other. It’s the kind of drink you look for when you want to try something new and sophisticated.
A couple of trays came around with hot dogs. I tried the Rising Sun and El Tigre styles. The Rising Sun is a Kobe beef hot dog, glazed with teriyaki. Then the dog is topped with wasabi, furikake (sushi sprinkle), and fine-diced pickles. Try this hot dog if you go to Masa 14; I promise it is way more delicious than I can explain here. El Tigre is a chorizo link topped with pico de gallo, shoestring potatoes, and sriracha cream. It’s definitely spicy, but it’s not 5-alarm. People who enjoy spicy food would probably be pleased with this hot dog. The flavor was very good overall. These hot dogs are not the dinky little store-bought size. They’d make a great lunch with a side dish and a drink.
The very friendly bartenders noted my empty glass; I enjoyed a Spicy Cucumber Margarita shortly thereafter. The spiciness is definitely “back of the throat” and adds something new to a drink. Cucumber and agave syrup balanced the acidity of the lime, and the salt (optional) made my drink complete. Masa 14 uses a housemade cucumber-fresno chile infused blanco tequila. Try it and become a fan.
Next, I tried the Spicy Shrimp Flatbread. It tasted buttery, sweet, and hot all at once. The flatbread was soft and the Oaxaca cheese was fresh. The julienned jicama and crushed pineapple balance the pickled fresno chiles. The heat is a “back of your throat”variety, not a “fire in your mouth” type. I would absolutely order this dish and not share. The Mojito Especial was the perfect drink to enjoy with the flatbread.
My last drink was the abovementioned Mojito Especial. The requisite limes and mint were present, along with brown sugar and Patron Pyrat dark rum. A faint licorice or anise flavor came through, balancing nicely with the brown sugar. This drink is a refreshing twist on one of my favorite drinks.
Finally, I tasted the Bay Scallop Ceviche. Trays holding individual servings came around the room, and the visual appeal was evident. Beautiful scallops had been combined with diced jicama, bright pineapple, and chopped red onion. Then the mix had been tossed with a yuzu-sriracha vinaigrette, giving it heat and a citrus note. I would definitely order this dish. If you’re looking for a place that takes you out of the rat race, head for the rooftop of Masa 14. The food is different from just about anything else you’ll find in DC, being Latin-Asian fusion, and the drinks are delicious.