While my palate was almost destroyed by the flaming hot egg drop soup, it was luckily able to recover in time to enjoy the remainder of the Restaurant Week courses at Masa 14. For the $35 prix fixe menu, each person chooses three savory courses and a dessert. This was just the right amount of food without feeling the aches of over-satiation or the grumbles of being underfed. The tapas-style restaurant off of U Street definitely lived up to its hype as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s top 25 new restaurants. Its art deco design and long bar enticed a big crowd on Saturday night, while the noise level remained manageable enough to hold a conversation.

The winning dishes included the shrimp ceviche, carne noodles, beef tenderloin, and pumpkin cake. Stealing the show by far were the carne noodles, complete with snow peas, smoked brisket and shrimp, all topped with a poached egg. The brisket was incredibly tender and exploding with flavor, making it what I thought to be the key component of this dish. I was slightly underwhelmed by the mushroom flatbread, especially when compared to Dickson Wine Bar’s version only minutes away. The pumpkin cake was served warm with pumpkin ice cream and proved to be a great way to end the meal.

Overall, I was impressed with the ability of chefs Richard Sandoval and Kaz Okochi to provide a menu of Latin-Asian fusion featuring dishes that exemplified some of the best qualities of each cuisine. Masa 14 is a great addition to the eclectic U Street neighborhood, which is slowly transforming itself into the most up-and-coming area in D.C. A final note: While restaurant week is ending and the accompanying $35 menu is soon to disappear, Masa 14 offers a pre-theater menu Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. for $24.95. This great deal includes three items off of the regular or dessert menu, as well as a glass of house red or white wine.

4 out of 5 Stars

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