Masa 14 Late Night Happy Hour Review
I’ve wanted to try Masa 14, an Asian-Latin-fusion tapas restaurant on 14th Street, for months. My wish finally came true when I went with friends for Masa 14’s all-night happy hour that happens each Tuesday. The happy hour includes $4 cocktails, beers and wines. If you arrive before 7, you can also get dishes at the discounted happy hour rate.
Masa 14 has a rooftop bar that is ideal for nights as beautiful as the one on which I went. My boyfriend and I arrived a little bit before 9. We didn’t have a reservation, but were able to snag a table for our friends and ourselves after a nearby party left.
The scene was buzzing and lively. Most of the tables were occupied by large groups of people in their 20s and 30s. A DJ played house music that matched the loungey mood. Masa 14’s rooftop bar is open late, making it a great spot to get drinks and grub with friends any day of the week. It’s the kind of place to go and spend a few hours catching up with friends. Masa 14 is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
I started the night out with a Strawberry Lemonade ($4 during happy hour/usually $7 (photo above)). It was made of vodka, fresh strawberry puree and fresh lemon juice and garnished with lemon wedges. It was the perfect summer drink. It was sweet, refreshing and fairly strong, without tasting too much like vodka. The strawberry puree was very fresh and flavorful. A good cocktail is delicious and gives you a buzz without tasting overwhelmingly of alcohol, and the strawberry lemonade met these requirements.
The Mojito Tradicional ($4 during happy hour/usually $9), however, was not as stellar. This mojito was, like its name implies, traditional, consisting of castillo rum, lime, mint and simple syrup. It was too bitter and not as good as my favorite at Nooshi (a favorite happy hour spot for GW students), which is sweet and masks the flavor of the rum.
After we got our drinks, the food started coming. The Wok-Fried Calamari ($11) was incredible. It was made with sweet and spicy chili sauce, ginger, thai basil, Szechuan peppercorn and scallions. The calamari was crunchy yet tender because of the sauce it was prepared with. I stayed away from the Szechuan peppercorns, which are tiny – yet powerfully spicy – red peppers. The scallions were crunchy and refreshing. The dish was sweet with a slightly spicy kick (or very spicy if you go for the peppercorns). My boyfriend and I devoured this dish in probably about one minute, because it was that good. The serving size was pretty small because Masa 14 is a tapas style restaurant, but the dish left me excited to try the next course.
I had low expectations for the Lo Mein Noodles ($10), but they were quite exceptional. I was expecting something similar to takeout, but this dish was the gourmet version of the noodles I’m used to. The lo mein consisted of hanger steak, oyster sauce, rapini (a type of broccoli), jicama (a bland Mexican turnip), black mushroom and chipotle peppers. The dish was slightly spicy and very tasty.
The Crunchy Shrimp ($11) was amazing as well. It was fried in panko and then topped with chipotle aioli, teriyaki sauce, toasted sesame seeds, masago and scallions. It was so good! The shrimp was crunchy yet chewy and sweet. I loved all of the toppings. It reminded me of a shrimp tempura sushi without the rice. We consumed this dish in record time too.
Although we could have eaten more, the above drinks and three dishes were a good amount of food for my boyfriend and me. This is what my friends had to say about the dishes they tried:
Sofia said the Yucca Fries ($6) were really, really good, but she thought they should have been served with lemon and salt. The fries were also softer than she would have liked. She says they needed to be a bit more crunchy. The yucca was served with a sauce made of chimichurri, garlic oil and citrus aioli.
Rachel thought the Aji Tuna Ceviche ($11) was a good light, summer dish. However, she says it was a bit bland and could have benefitted from more salt. She really liked the citrus broth the ceviche was served in. The dish consisted of the citrus broth, aji tuna, green apples and cilantro.
Will, who had the Ancho Rubber Beef Brisket ($11), said the dish was like eating Chuck Norris’ love child. While this description is a bit explicit, it gets the point across that the dish was really good. The brisket was served on an oaxaca cheese potato puree (a.k.a. mashed potatoes), spinach and achiote truffle sauce.
Overall, I was really impressed with Masa 14. Everything I ordered was delicious. If money wasn’t a factor, I would have gotten every dish on the menu! Our waitress wasn’t always around when we needed her and trying to split the check 5 ways was a headache, but we weren’t in a rush.
Masa 14 has a bottomless brunch on weekends that I’ve heard about and will definitely try now that I’m 21. The deal is this: for $39, you get as many dishes as you want from their brunch menu as well as bottomless drinks including mimosas, bellinis and the formidable Bacon Bloody Mary. I’ve realized that most “bottomless” buffets aren’t actually good deals because I could never eat enough items for the price to even out from the a la carte menu. However, the brunch drinks average out to about $7 each, so if you get 2 drinks and 2 or 3 food items, you have already ate your money’s worth and you don’t have to stop there. I’ll try fasting before going to be able to try as many things as possible. Before I make it back to Masa 14 for brunch, check out what Bitches Who Brunch, one of my favorite food blogs, had to say about the bottomless brunch. Their post was written several years ago and the menu has probably changed slightly since, but the essence of the brunch is still the same!
The Bottom Line:
1825 14th St. NW (Logan Circle)
Washington, DC 20009