Restaurants & Bars 3

Masa update

Ian | Nov 19, 2003 11:28 AM

I posted yesterday asking about Masa and receied only one reply. I think I know why. My wife and I went last night and the place was nearly empty when we arrived at 7:00, and remained so when we left at 8:30. It certainly does not look like they're doing a lot of mid-week business. Even if they're busy on the weekends, it's hard to overcome being empty all week.

In any event, we went based on the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend. I was excited because I love spicy and Southwestern-influenced food. My wife doesn't like spicy food, but occasionally humors me.

I started with a romaine salad -- essentially a caesar salad with strips of blue tortilla chips -- and my wife started with a beet salad with goat cheese, tomatoes and onions because the waiter (who was very nice and tried hard to be helpful) described it as one of the more mild appetisers. I found my salad to lack taste. The tortilla strips were a nice touch, but the dressing was lackluster. My wife's salad, on the other hand, I found to be delicious -- except for the fact that I don't really like beets. My wife couldn't eat much of the salad because, notwithstanding the waiter's advice, she found it to be too spicy. So I let her finish my salad, and I took hers. Since I don't like beets, I did my best to pull our the remaining tomatoes, onions and cheese, and really liked the flavor. I could tell that it would be too spicy for my wife -- any time I can detect any spice at all with my burnt out taste buds, I know it will be intolerable for her.

For a main course, I had creamy enchiladas with smoked duck, and my wife had mahi mahi. The enchiladas would have been excellent, but something -- perhaps flavors picked up in the refrigerator -- threw the flavor of the enchiladas off just a little. I didn't try my wife's fish, but she thought it was bland -- perhaps the result of the kitchen trying to accommodate her request to keep the spice level down.

For desert, I had plantain empanadas with caramel sauce and chocolate ice cream, and my wife had their very interesting version of rice pudding. The empanadas were great in theory, but just ok in execution. The empanadas themselves were too thick and doughy, which perhaps is the authentic way to make an empanada, but for a desert dish like this I thought they should be lighter and crispier. Also, the plaintains were too hard, perhaps because they were not ripe enough or not cooked enough. My wife, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed her desssert.

Dinner for the two of us, without wine, was $77 before the tip, probably less than half of what we spend when we go to our favorite place in the area, Mistral. Unfortunatley, I don't see it as the type of place we'll return to on a regular basis.

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