Dish of the Week Spotlight: Masa 14

Ceviche_Tuna

Kaz's Tuna Ceviche

I reported on the opening a week or so ago; however, to sum up, Chef Richard Sandoval, who brought us his marriage of Latin-Asian flavors, Zengo has partnered with award winning Chef KazuhiroKaz” Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro to bring us their new joint concept serving Latin and Asian small plates. After several months of anticipation, the 5,000 square foot restaurant just north of Logan Circle opened on Monday, October 12, 2009. The menu includes seafood dishes, meat and poultry, noodles and rice, to tacos to wood-oven flatbread pizzas ranging in price from $6 to $14. Antonio Burrell will serve as the Chef de Cuisine, formerly of the CommonWealth Gastro Pub in Columbia Heights.

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a media dinner at the newly opened Masa 14. I tried several items on each portion of the menu. Of the ‘Cold’ offerings on the menu, I tried the Crunchy shrimp / wasabi sauce / lettuce / crunchy rice Temaki Handrolls served in Chef Kaz’s creative presentation of using ice cream cone holders. I thought this was pretty inventive.  They were indeed quite crunchy. For texture, there were green like “roe” but made of wasabi. The handrolls were much larger than traditional sushi rolls, evidently are quite popular in Brazil. I found the handrolls very difficult to bite into. I also didn’t care for the bitter black seaweed wraps. Kaz said that he prepares the handrolls pretty much the same way as sushi rolls, but uses different vinegar.

The Tuna Ceviche / coconut / pineapple / pico de gallo was delicious (see photo above). The dish is very similar to Kaz’s scallops Ceviche that he offers at Kaz Sushi Bistro. He said that he didn’t want to do the same thing and wanted to try something different so decided to use Tuna. He said that there is so much scallop on the menu at the Kaz Sushi Bistro that he took it off the menu. The ceviche was one of my favorite dishes. When I return to Masa 14, I will definitely order the ceviche.

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Jicama Salad

Of the cold dishes, the Hijiki seaweed–jicama salad / sesame / chayote / daikon sprouts was probably my favorite or at least tied with the ceviche. I loved the seasonings, smokey sesame flavor, and the crunchy texture. Once I was home I researched some of the ingredients, which were new to me. In my research, I discovered that Hijiki is the most versatile kind of seaweed and  also extremely high in fiber. Jicama belongs to the legume or bean family (who knew?). It is a popular dietary staple in Latin America and widely grown in Mexico and Central America. Jicama looks similar to a turnip or a large radish, and it can be used as an alternative to the water chestnut. Additionally, raw jicama tastes similar to a pear or apple. When jicama is used in cooking it tends to take on the flavors of the ingredients that it is being combined with. Therefore, jicama is a nice complement to various stir-fry dishes because it blends well with many vegetables and seasonings. Jicama is a very versatile vegetable that contains a high amount of vitamin C, is low in sodium, and has no fat and great for menus, as it is available year round.

Of the Hot Dishes, the beef tenderloin with chimichurri, fingerling potatoes, and mushroom escabeche was my favorite. It was at least medium rare, tender, juicy and delicious. I tried the wild mushroom and serrano ham flatbread – I didn’t really care for the flatbreads. I tried the Grilled Baby Octopus, but I’m not an octopus fan, the black cod was too salty, I don’t really like salmon, and the Pork Belly Al Pastor Tacos weren’t very flavorful.

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