Last year, Ben and I spent a weekend in Charlottesville, VA, which I blogged about previously here, here, and here. We happened to pick the weekend a derecho hit the East Coast, which is only relevant to this blog because we got a free hotel stay from that natural disaster. Yay? I use the question mark because when we redeemed our gift certificate, the first thing I noticed in the hotel room was a letter warning about the plague of stink bugs that have taken over the town. From a derecho to stink bugs, Charlottesville knows how to treat us with class.
I do mean that last line sarcastically, because despite the plagues and natural disasters, I enjoyed both excursions to this college and foodie town. And now reading about it is your curse as a peruser of this blog, because I know how to treat you with class, too.
A friend in town recommended we spend our dinner meal at Mas (501 Monticello Road), a tapas place in the Belmont neighborhood, and so we made our way to the very popular corner spot around 10 pm.
It is definitely a happening restaurant! Even at 10, we had a short wait. There’s an inviting front patio area, but the night was too chilly for me, so we opted for a seat in the restaurant proper, which is two-level.
Apparently the upper level near the bar is hotter real estate because we were asked whether the lower level was satisfactory and at least one other waiting party turned it down. I saw nothing wrong with the lower level, and I loved the mix of materials, which shouldn’t surprise those of you who read my Chef and the Farmer post. Brick, multiple cuts and types of wood, gray concrete, and smoky glass pleased my eye.
Vibe-wise, it’s jammed with people and the speakers struggle to play Top 40s hits of years gone by loud enough to be heard. I’d call it a place to chill with friends for the evening, as long as you’re okay speaking well above a whisper. Nibble on the complimentary olive bowl, order a bottle of wine to share, and dig into tapas! All plates we had were available in larger portions for twice the price, and Mas’s ingredients are a combination of imports and goods sourced from local farmers.
That’s broccolini sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and Amontillado sherry. It’s a simple dish, but its ingredients, especially the salt sprinkle and amazing oil flavor, were exquisite despite the broccolini being a tad undercooked.
Read more →