Saturday night we went out to dinner with our good friends — who are due to deliver their second baby any day now! Keeping this in mind, we decided to stay local and try out one of West Roxbury’s finest… yes, that IS an oxymoron, or at least I thought it was until I went to Masona Grill (http://www.masonagrill.net/index.php).
Masona Grill is quite a hidden gem. Located on a side street that runs past the commuter rail stop (Highland on the Needham line), served up some fabulous food and provided a very cozy and hip atmosphere. The chef and owner also operates two other local restaurants, the Claremont Cafe in the South End and Cafe 300 in Fort Point.
The menu focuses on Latin fare, with a modern twist and features a year-round 3-course prix fixed menu for $33. There also monthly food and wine themed nights (September is New Zealand) and a weekly Jazz night (Thursdays).
We began our meals with the house special drink… mojitos. The restaurant does not have a full bar(as of yet), but does serve beer, wine and “liquors”. I love mojitos and these were very tasty–just the right balance of lime juice and mint leaves.
For appetizers, I had the Grilled Calamari served with black olive aoili, white beans, tomatoes, arugula and fried parsley (for $9). I definitely enjoyed it, though the portion was (dare I say it) a little too big. There was a lot of calamari, though I didn’t really detect any black olive in flavor… though it WAS very spicy. Dan got the appetizer special, a Beet & Blue Cheese salad; he seemed to like that as well. Our dining partners ordered the Pulled Port Empanadas with black bean salsa and parsley oil (for $8) and the Seviche of the night, which was some type of tuna and shrimp. The empanadas were a bit dry and didn’t compare to the authentic ones our friend had before; however, the seviche was delicious.
For dinner, I had the Caribbean Crabcakes, served with a cucumber salad, seasame sweet potatoes and honeyed creme fraiche ($18). These were really good and very filling. Dan had the Seared Scallops with creamy orzo, wild mushrooms, sauteed spinach and olive orange sauce ($26). He said they were some of the best scallops he’s ever had… tender, sweet and very flavorful. Our female friend had the Sirloin Steak Latino with yucca fries, watercress salad and chimichurri ($27) — which was a large cut, cooked appropriately, with a nice flavor and texture. Her husband ordered the Swordfish special. I don’t remember the details of his meal, but he really enjoyed it and thought it was extrememly good.
For desert, we decided to order one of each (as there were four options). A Banana Bread Pudding, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie and Tres Leche Cake ($8 each). All were delicious, however, the Leche Cake took the prize. It was unbelievalbly good (so I’m glad it was mine!). If you are only going to get one desert… go for that one.
Overall, we had a very good dining experience. We would definitely go again and I think it’s worth a date night. Try to go on one of the themed nights… so you can try a special region-inspired menu and do the regional wine tasting along with it. Also, they specifically told us that they are kid-friendly and encouraged us to return with our little ones (the owner has three young daughters).
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