Perhaps to the surprise of his family, Adam Goldman decided to become a chef when he was only 13 or 14. Why is this surprising? Because he grew up in a house where food was not really important. "I always wanted to go to Johnson & Wales University," he says, adding that as a teen he had worked in the kitchens of a Boy Scout camp.
"The chef was nuts," he said, "and there were a number of vegetarians on the camp staff. He would not cook for them. So I did the cooking for the vegetarians, and they loved what I did. So that's when I decided to become a chef." For Goldman, that was a life-changing moment. Now this young man is executive chef at D.C.'s Masa 14.
After graduation from culinary school, Goldman worked at Franklin's in Hyattsville for about a year. After several other area jobs, Goldman ended up at Potomac's Bezu, where chef Dennis Friedman was his boss. Coincidentally, Goldman also worked there with Antonio Burrell, who eventually became Goldman's boss at Masa 14.
|If you go|
|Where: 1825 14th St. NW|
|Hours: Dinner 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday; brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday|
Considering the tight-knit culinary community of D.C., it comes as no surprise that the two worked in concert, and that Goldman became the natural fit when his predecessor moved on. With the kitchen and menu now under his watchful eye and creative impulses, Goldman is structuring the menu to draw on his extensive background. "It's hard to say what my style is," he said, "because I have done all cuisines except fine dining. I have done barbecue, Italian, Mediterranean and Asian fusion."
Compiling all these influences, Goldman says he prefers good, clean and simple food "with an excellent balance of flavor and texture without being eccentric." Where does he draw his inspiration, then? "From all over," he says. "Some of my recipes have Latin-Asian or barbecue flavors. I infuse Latin-Asian flare with tradition barbecue techniques."
In the end, Goldman admits that what matters most to him is that the patrons just enjoy their meal. He aims to create a larger culinary canvas for his menu, but if you have not eaten at Masa 14, look for some Latin influences in its fare.
What is your comfort food?
Honestly, my mom's pot roast with barley and bow tie noodles. It's my mom's cooking that I grew up on.
What's in your fridge?
Not much. Canned peaches, pineapple, apples, peanut butter, blueberry yogurt and string cheese.
Which is your favorite restaurant?
That depends on my mood: Marvin, New Big Wong, Bayou.
Which chef do you admire the most?
I am inspired by tons of them. I have 150 cookbooks in my library. So, Thomas Keller, Morimoto, Alan Wong, Jose Andres ...
Which is your must-have ingredient?
Butter. I love butter. The more butter, the better.
Look for the Japanese seasoning togarashi in an Asian market. You can make cumin oil by lightly toasting ground cumin in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic. Add 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine filter and set aside.
1 cup minced fresh sushi-grade salmon
1 tablespoon fine-diced red onion plus 2 tablespoons, set aside
1 tablespoon fine-diced green mango plus 1 tablespoon set aside
1 tablespoon diced roasted red pepper
1 green or unripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped fine
3 tablespoons lime juice plus 1 tablespoon set aside
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
1/2 bunch mint, minced
1/2 teaspoon chipotle puree
1/4 cup olive oil
Spring roll wrappers
Togarashi to taste
1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
3 tablespoons ground cumin
Mix minced salmon with 1 tablespoon red onion, 1 tablespoon of red onion, 1 tablespoon of green mango and the red pepper. Use the cumin oil to taste, about 1/2 tablespoon oil to 1 tablespoon salmon. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt and pepper. Mix well.
To make the chimichurri, add the remaining red onion and green mango into the container of a blender. Add the remaining lime juice and puree until smooth. With the blender still running, add the olive oil until the mixture thickens. Add the cilantro, mint and chipotle puree.
To make won ton crisps, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with butter-flavored nonstick spray. Line the sheet with parchment paper. Cut the spring rolls into 1-inch-by-1-inch squares and lay them flat on the prepared baking sheet next to each other. Lightly sprinkle each square with the togarashi. Place another baking sheet on top of the spring roll pieces, and bake until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
To serve, spoon the salmon mixture into a ring mold, pressing down to firm the mixture. Put a dollop of the chimichurri in the corner of the plate. Arrange the won ton crisps fanned out in between the tartar and the chimichurri.