Masse­ria by Ni­cholas Ste­fanelli, Wash­ing­ton D.C., USA

Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By He­len Hayes

Masse­ria has be­come one of the in places for in-the-know diners in Wash­ing­ton; even more so af­ter scor­ing a Miche­lin star in Oc­to­ber 2016. Lo­cated in the up-and-com­ing Union Mar­ket area, Masse­ria fea­tures an open-air court­yard area and an in­dus­tri­alfeel in­te­rior with sev­eral dif­fer­ent clus­ters of seat­ing. We dine in­side and once seated, watch the chefs at work. Nick hails from the Puglia area of Italy, and this menu is based on those big Ital­ian flavours that he grew up en­joy­ing. We choose the ‘La Cucina’ menu, a six-course tast­ing menu to re­ally savour the flavours that Masse­ria is be­com­ing known for, and that at­tracts such es­teemed clien­tele as the Oba­mas. The lovely Bom­bolini is fol­lowed by bur­rata cheese with caviar, gi­ant white as­para­gus with glazed egg and crispy pork skin, salted storm bass, canoli truf­fles and dry-aged beef rib­eye with cheese fon­duta, crushed pota­toes and wild spring onions. We watch the var­i­ous dishes ap­pear­ing on ta­bles nearby and they can’t re­sist a peak at what we are hav­ing – such is the beauty and cre­ativ­ity of each dish. While ap­proach­ing food coma sta­tus, we can’t say no to a dessert of Torta al Cioc­co­lato baked choco­late mousse. Does it de­serve its star? Miche­lin should give it two, I say. The Oba­mas ob­vi­ously have great taste. masse­

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