New Chef and Menu at Masa 14
14th Street is my Main Street. Just a few steps from my apartment, and I have my pick of any of the dozens of restaurants that line the street any night of the week. I will admit that Masa 14 is not one that I frequent often. During my last visit several months ago I found the food to be very disappointing, and as a result I removed it from my restaurant rotation.
Just this week I was invited by their publicist to try the new menu, and I am happy to report that things have taken a turn for the better. Chef Richard Sandoval along with partners Kaz Okochi and Ivan Iricanin recently appointed a new Chef de Cuisine Felipe Milanes who has transformed the sushi menu, and added innovative dishes including pork belly al carbon, as well as a rich foie jita served in a cast iron skillet with peppers and onions (fajitas with foie gras.)
My favorite dish of the evening was the spicy tuna nachos made with won tons, and topped with cotija cheese and salsa picante. It's the perfect snack, and I'll admit that I ate an entire bowl. Sushi favorites included the Golden Eel Roll and the Rainbow Tropico Roll (both pictured above.) The Golden Eel Roll was served with tamago, avocado, cucumber, and a maple-miso sauce. The Rainbow Tropico Roll included tuna, hamachi, salmon, avocado, and was topped with a sweet and tangy mango-papaya salsa. For dessert I recommend the chocolate terrine which is a triple layered deep chocolate brownie cake served with a black plum sauce.
Sometimes a new chef and a new menu are exactly what a restaurant needs in order to reinvent itself and draw people back in. In this case, I think these were necessary changes, and I was able to experience the improvements firsthand. I'm happy to report that Chef Felipe Milanes has put Masa 14 back on the map for me.