I officially have a new favorite Brunch place. On a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon, I headed down to U Street for a fantastic brunch with a few friends. In the end, most jumped ship, but the two of us, my Graffiato gourmette and myself, had quite the splendid afternoon!
In my airheadedness, I totes forgot to make a reservation for Brunch and by the time I walked in, the place was packed to the brim. Lucky for us, there is zero wait if you head to the bar upstairs. Double lucky for us, you can eat at said bar with a great view of the outside terrace.
So if you’ve never heard of Masa 14, this place is a real treat. If I had to describe my time here as a Netflix movie category, it would be called a Feel Good Movie with a Strong Lead of Drinks. The cuisine is Latin – Asian fusion, which sounds confusing at first glance, but I promise, they make it work, 100%.
Typical of weekend Brunch, there are special menus to entice your spending. At Masa, there are 2 main options: either the $20 prix fixe, which is an entree + dessert or the $35 prix fixe which is unlimited tapas and unlimited brunch cocktails. I was struck by how they drew outside the lines of your typical Bloody Mary/Bellini/Mimosa options. I at first ordered their Lychee Mimosa, but decided instead to go all the way in my unwind. I don’t even know what a lychee is, in truth, but the Lychee Lemonade was calling to me and I succumbed to its Bacardi Razz ingredient and the $20 prix fixe. Best decision I’ve made in a while, a part from coming here on such a beautiful day.
This place was pretty understaffed for a Sunday afternoon. People at the tables near us kept coming up to the bartenders asking the status of their food. (One woman walked up behind me and said the bartender, “Yea, our whole table has finished their food and my girlfriend never received her plate.” Uh…so your friend just watched you all eat for 30 minutes? What terrible friends.) We weren’t want for food, however, as the $20 menu also included a bread basket of A) pizza bread, B) corn bread and C) a chocolate muffin. Each three were exquisitely made and went well together, oddly, even the chocolate muffin. We also weren’t want for drinks. The bartender originally made my Lemonade with Vodka, which is not my friend, so he made another with my preferred Rum. But so as not to spoil the first drink, he gave it to me anyway!
After the breadbasket came a serving of four very random samples of appetizers in ceramic bowls, including kim chi, potato salad, pickled radishes, and spinach with a thai-like peanut sauce. By the end of the appetizers and my second drink, I was already feeling full. But I stayed the course and remained persistent. While we waited for our food, we made the best of conversation, which grew increasingly animated as we got to the bottom of our cocktails.
We had enough time to talk about the “Olive Theory” of How I Met Your Mother and the marvels of pickled veggies when, finally, la piece de resistance! Two huge sandwiches on thick baguette: the first: a Cuban delight layered with pernil, turkey, ham and swiss cheese and secondly, for me, a beef bulgogi and roast chicken combination with fried yucca on the side. We took our first bites of the monsters and nodded our heads, yes, in acceptance. This was worth the wait. The bulgogi was very sweet with juicy and tender chicken to accent it. A layer of avocado on one end and a garlicky aioli on the other acted as nice glues to keep all that meat together. I was only able to get through half before I tapped out. The rest would serve nicely as an after booze pick-me-up.
Next stop: dessertville. The desserts were just okay. Nothing to write home about, really. When the final bill came, we’d only spent $22 a piece, A PIECE! Our friend Mohammed the bartender, henceforth known as Bro-hammed, really hooked us up! I was looking longingly at the terrace view while we ate hoping to soak up some sun before we left our boozy brunch. As we exited the brightly lit second floor bar in favor of the sun-soaked deck, there were not enough seats for us, so we stood at some of the high tables and took a look around while we sipped our third drinks.The sun was beaming intensely from one corner of the patio and really made me yearn for summer. I love all things winter accessories, gloves, boots, scarves, the works! But nothing feels better than a warm day in late spring or early summer, happy hour on a rooftop and downing several spirits with friends.
All in all, a perfect Brunch. A great open space on both levels, with well-made drinks. The food menu was good, but just good. It was the price that made it all the better, plus the very tasty drinks! But I’ll definitely come back for the EXCELLENT service from our new bro, Mohammed.