At a recent press dinner at Masq, we sampled a variety of New American dishes with a New Orleans flair. I was very impressed with almost all that we tried, and the cocktails are definitely not to be missed here. Vibe-wise, this is definitely not like any other NYC restaurant I've been to. The decor is quite loud, with a heavily decorated dining room and waitresses more scantily clothed than at your typical restaurant. Whether or not that's what you're looking for, the food and drink are very good.
At the front of the restaurant is a bar with tons of light bulbs everywhere. Based on this ambiance, I wouldn't necessarily come here for drinks, but if your focus is on finding good bites and great drinks, it's Masq is definitely worth checking out.
The restaurant is slightly narrow, with a mix of low and high tables, leading to 2 larger rooms in the back (complete with a small karaoke stage and colorful revolving light machine).
The walls are adorned with masks, murals, and paintings of ladies in masks (hence the restaurant's name 'Masq'.)
Now onto the tasting...
Lots of cocktails and wine... The star of the night was the Ramos Gin Fizz (far left)-- beefeater gin, fresh lemon and lime juice, sugar, splash of milk topped with soda. Clearly not the healthiest choice, but I promise it was totally worth it. It tasted like a summer cocktail, but not too sweet, and had a light, slightly foamy pina colada-like texture.
Mac 'n Cheese Croquettes: Jalapenos, bacon, cheddar, wrapped in panko bread crumbs served with spicy remoulade
Perfectly spicy, with just the right amount of creaminess in the mac 'n cheese.
Proscuitto Fig Flatbread: Goat cheese and arugula with shaved pecorino romano
I'm always a fan of flatbread, and this was terrific. The proscuitto was flavorful and soft, complemented with sweet fig jam and olive oil drizzled arugula and cheese.
Maryland Crabcakes: Seasoned lump crabmeat, lightly breaded, with arugula and spicy remoulade
Probably one of the best crabcakes I've ever tried. Just a tad crispy on the outside, while flaky and full of fresh crabmeat on the inside. So perfect the way it was, I don't think I even really used the tartar sauce.
Shrimp Po' Boy on Sweet Hawaiian Roll: Cajun fried shrimp with lettuce, tomato and spicy remoulade
The freshly fried shrimp was so tasty, and the dish included sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. The soft bread is actually prepared with pineapple juice, bringing in hints of sweetness. Delicious.
Jambalaya: Cajun spiced chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp and rice topped with cheese
Although not the most flattering picture, this jambalaya was bursting with flavors... almost too much though. I was overwhelmed with the level of spiciness that I couldn't get more than two or three bites down.
306 East 49th Street (btwn 1st and 2nd Aves)
New York, NY 10017
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*This meal was complimentary, hosted by the restaurant as part of a press dinner.