jacq & i get fancy: mas (farmhouse), 01/13/2007

this is a picture from nymag.com

so last night jacqueline and i went to celebrate a special occasion at mas (farmhouse). recommended by a coworker of mine, i did some online reading and it seemed like an interesting enough place to check out.
helmed by “rising star chef” Galen Zamarra and located in new york’s west villagee, mas is a fairly upscale yet casual (their recommended attire is “elegant casual) restaurant dealing mainly in contemporary french/american fare. however the main draw for me is their use of only local organically farmed ingredients and their menu, which changes daily. upon arrival we walked into a pretty hushed and calming environment. warmly lit, the interior was modern yet rustic, with a lot of clean edges and simplistic shapes contrasted by rustic elements: wood, stone, pillows embroidered with hearts and deer. one of my favorite details were the serving plates at the table, which were white with a branch painted in red on it which continued off the plate to the candle holder in the center. i am a nerd.
we started off with some wine. i had a glass of pinot noir from oregon and jacq had some white wine from i dont remember. i like wine, red wine specifically, but i honestly dont know the first thing about wine except for the fact that i like red wine. so with that being the case, i liked my wine.
after being served some french rolls with a glob of amazing butter, we ordered. we started it off with a yellowfin tuna appetizer, and i went with the trout with brussel sprouts and root vegetable medleywhile jacq went with the lobster with ricotta spätzle & wild chanterelle mushrooms. they offer a pre-fixe dinner with an optional wine pairing, but we decided to just go the traditional route.
the dinner started with amuse, which was a shrimp and crab salad topped with a vinaigrette. having never eaten in a place that started with an amuse, i thought it was our appetizer and for a split second was like “what the fuck” because this shit was small. like the size of my thumbnail small. however after the server explained what it was, i was pumped because i had never eaten in a place with an amuse before. it as nice and simple, palate cleansing, and a nice way to start things.
next up was the Yellowfin Tuna l’Occidental, which was served sashimi style, topped with a “beurre noisette”, crisped shallots, and what looked like clovers. being a big fan of sushi and tuna, i loved this appetizer. the tuna was fresh and flavorful, while the crispy shallots added a little crunch and bitterness. i would honestly go back just to eat this appetizer.
next up was the entree, with my trout being cooked whole and cut in half and jacq’s lobster being shelled and piled nicely on top of the spätzle and the black huitlacoche puree dripped on the sides of the dish. now i originally was leaning towards the lobster, but because i wanted to keep with my “going outside of my comfort level because im in a place that is supposed to serve good food and its not like i eat here everyday” i went with the trout. which is odd because trout is also a pretty safe choice but since i rarely go with fish as an entree (unless its fried), i figured why not. and while im not saying it was bad, it was what i expected: fish. white fish that didnt taste too different from what my mom and aunts make (head and all!). it may have been a little much of me to expect a mindblowing trout dish, but whatever.
jacq’s lobster on the other hand was succulent and firm, and pretty much what you would expect from a lobster dish. the huitlacoche puree was a subtle yet very distinct compliment to the lobster and spätzle. i should have gone with the lobster.
for dessert we got a pecan tart in phyllo dough topped with chocolate ice cream and caramel. put simply enough, it was pretty amazing. the soft creamy house-made ice cream went well with the crunchy phyllo and chewy pecan at the bottom. it was sweet (pun intended).
following out dessert came the “final taste” which if i recall was an almond and chocolate maccaroon that looked like a tiny hamburger. that was also pretty good.
upon leaving and thinking about my trout, i started thinking about something i heard on a david cross standup which i usually think about after i eat at a nice restaurant: was it worth it? and in this case, i would only have to say maybe. or maybe “i guess”? the service was amazing (not pretentious at all) and tentative, the bread was great, the appetizer was fantastic, the dessert was awesome, but my trout…was trout. not bad, but nothing great either.
is this place worth checking out? sure. id really like to check out the pre-fixe menu at some point, and the atmosphere is fancy and almost romantic yet casual enough that bjork and the shins were playing in the background. the food was fresh and good, and there were tons of wines and drinks to choose from. just get something a little more adventerous than the trout.

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4 Comments

  1. I only recently heard of amuse. I’m so fucking ignorant. I had to find out about it when I was a waiter at a party where the guy who did american piewas flown in to sing two songs…american pie.. and..starry starry night(the one about van gogh) BORING!

  2. I hope when the waiter brought out the amuse, you kicked the table over and demanded to know if the waiter thought you were a faggot.

  3. i was this close (imagine me pinching my fingers together) to doing that.
    and how can you say that don mclean is boring! american pie! i mean, come on!

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