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The Early Word on Nick Stefanelli's New Restaurant Masseria

"The restaurant is an island of chic."

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R. Lopez

Nick Stefanelli's first solo restaurant, Masseria, had its soft opening last month and then officially opened at the beginning of August. Located outside Union Market, Masseria's sleek design includes Mediterranean tiles, cement floors and a huge indoor and outdoor courtyard. Except for small bites served in the lounge and bar area, this Italian restaurant is tasting menu only. Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema is already a fan of the Bibiana vet's cuisine, but what do regular diners think? The restaurant already has 18 Yelp reviews with an overall rating of three and a half stars. Read on for the early word on Masseria:

The Just Like New York/LA/Austin/Europe News: With its eye-catching design, diners think the atmosphere at Masseria is unlike anywhere else in DC. But they just can't quite agree on where it belongs. Yelper J.T.writes, "The location is straight out of the NYC meat packing district before it got cool." But Yelper Gene B. thinks it's "very LA" and Yelper Kathleen G. says it's "like a dream out of Austin" while Twitter user @VMPhoto3 proclaims, "Nick Stefanelli really created a place for Europeans." [Yelp, Twitter]

The Attitude Problem News: Several diners think Masseria's staff has an attitude problem. Yelper D.H. writes, "Their downfall is the service and the attitude - particularly of the onsite manager" and Yelper Tyler J. writes, "I was not only underwhelmed, but also insulted by the general presence and attitude of the staff. They had little to no actual knowledge of the dishes." Yelper Jenny S. advises potential diners,  "there are plenty of other great spots on H Street...that serve great food without the attitude." Keith on Facebook disagrees, though, praising the "atmosphere, the crackerjack staff, the superb food and the delicious drinks!" [Yelp, FB]

The Best New Restaurant Potential News: Yelper Alex P. already thinks Masseria could be one of the best restaurants in the city. He writes, "When the Washingtonian republishes its top 100 restaurants, I suspect and sincerely hope this place enters the list near the top. " But Yelper Jay T. says "the restaurant has nothing on Rose's or some of the other new tasting menus." [Yelp]

The Lemon Sorbet with Prosecco News: Yelper GMS says, "The lemon sorbetto that comes in the prosecco cocktail is outstanding... the passionfruit cocktail is also amazing." Yelper Elizabeth C. says, "We each ordered a cocktail; mine had a lemon sorbet with prosecco on top, yummy!" And on its Facebook page, Jenn says, "Cocktails are fabulous! Prosecco mixed with sorbet...enough said." [Yelp, FB]

The Inventive Cocktail News: Blogger Rhode Island Avenue NE Insider says, "the cocktails are inventive and delicious" and blogger District Cuisine thinks the mojito with beer in it "sounds strange but it worked." Thrillist writer Laura Hayes writes, "the Cognac-based You Better Head Back to Hennessy Jed...tastes like the orange you used to stab cloves into to make a Christmas ornament." [RI Ave NE Insider, District Cuisine, Thrillist]

The Tasting Menu News: Diners seemed to know they were committing to a tasting menu. Yelper Elizabeth C. writes, "Ordering was easy, you either pick the 3 or 5 course option; I chose the 5 and my husband did the 3 so we could have a total of 8 and share them all." Yelper James G. says, "This is a tasting menu, and some amateur diners do not understand the concept." Twitter user @carolblymire calls the meal "mind-blowing." [Yelp, Twitter]

The Soft Shell Crab News: Both Yelpers Elizabeth C. and Alex P. say the soft shell crab is "nice." But Yelper GM S. says, "soft shell was very salty on some sections and fine on others." [Yelp]

The Terrible Hip Hop News: Yelper Jenny S. writes, "Also music went from lovely lounge music to 90s rap/hip-hop midway through dinner, which felt out of place for the setting." Yelper C.C. writes, "Terrible music- playing hip hop the whole time which does not align with the place at all." Yelper GM S. writes, "i'm kind of tired of white dudes pretending to be down by playing 90s hip hop and r&b.. let's not pretend this isn't a very upscale establishment with middle-aged/old rich white dude clientele." [Yelp]

The Confusing Bathroom News: Yelper Veronique L. explains the bathroom conundrum at Masseria. She writes, "There are only two unisex restrooms. I saw waits throughout the evening as the restaurant slowly filled." Yelper Alex P. also remarks, "At this point, I stood up to use the restroom, only to find that the doors to the bathrooms in the back simply don't lock making for some awkwardness." [Yelp]

The Chic Crowd News: Yelper J.T. writes, "The restaurant is an island of chic. You enter a private courtyard of nicely arranged outdoor lounges, where the fashionably hip drink cocktails and smoke cigars." Yelper Gene B. says,  "...on Saturday's the ladies are chicly dressed." [Yelp]


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