When Masseria first opened in its 4th Street NE location behind Union Market, I thought, humph, really? But the owners decided to make it a destination. And they’ve succeeded. Sure, you drive up New York Avenue and turn into what seems like the parking lot of Motel 6, and there it is. But there it is, and once you walk through the outer doors to the outside lounge area, you enter an oasis.
The lounge is filled with comfortable couches and fire pits – unlit right now, of course, but you can see how nice and welcoming the space will be when the evenings get a tad chillier. And from there, you can enjoy a drink or glass of wine, and look into the bar and dining room, do a little people watching, and just enjoy the evening. In other words, definitely get to Masseria in time for a drink to set the scene.
Inside, the dining room is small, with a mix of two tops and larger tables. Sadly for us, our first time, they put three of us at a table that could seat 6. Although once we got used to raising our voices slightly, it was fine.
The menu makes choosing difficult. It’s creative and unusual, and basically everything looks good. As in quite literally, plates would go by and we would ask each other: what is that? The answer often turned out to be something as mundane as focaccia bread in a small wooden box or breadstick rings arranged on a ceramic tree. Whatever it is, it likely tastes good and probably looks even better.
The food is fresh, fun, well-made, beautifully plated, and with 3 or 5 courses to chose from (dessert being the last one), you can have a good time tasting different flavors.
My only issue is the speed of the service. On Saturday, with a group of 5, there was a noticeable wait between courses three and four, probably close to 45 minutes. Of course, when the food came, it was delicious. But it definitely caused a laaaaaag ….
For a restaurant in its early days, Masseria seems to have figured it out. They just need to speed up the kitchen, or keep the food coming out at a more consistent pace.