by Charlottesville29

501 Monticello Road . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 979-0990

The full story on MAS Tapas is here.

Short version below.

Why MAS?

What can you do if you feel like going to a dinner party but none is planned? Go to MAS, Charlottesville’s original tapas bar. Chef-owner Tomas Rahal considers his customers to be his guests. And, no area restaurant feels more like a dinner party than MAS. It is a rollicking gala of beautiful food, free-flowing cocktails and wines, and fun-seeking people, all set in a cavernous space inspired by Gaudi and Frank Lloyd Wright.  And, the food is serious, too. In the ten-plus years since MAS opened, Rahal has cultivated relationships with the area’s best purveyors. With such high quality ingredients, Rahal likes to keep the cooking simple.  The results are often spectacular.

What to Order

The menu changes so often at MAS that it it difficult to recommend specific dishes to order. Our favorite way to eat at MAS is to ask the kitchen to send whatever it wants. A degustacion, of sorts. This not only affirms the dinner party feel of eating at MAS. After all, we wouldn’t order food at a dinner party. It also puts our choices in the hands of the people with the most expertise about current menu standouts: Rahal and his kitchen staff. That being said, there are some regular dishes on the menu that we do find ourselves craving again and again.  Also below are the chef’s picks and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named a MAS dish one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Datil con tocino, fat, juicy, pitted Medjool dates roasted inside of apple-wood smoked bacon
  • Habas fritas,  baby fava beans w/ Amontillado, garlic, olive oil, sweet butter, aged Mahon
  • Gambas al’ parilla, jumbo shrimp grilled Catalan style-in the shell-w/garlic alioli and grey salt
  • Chuletas, baby lamb chops grilled rare only w/flatbread, mojo verde
  • Porktopus
  • Carne Asada

Chef Rahal’s Picks

  • Bikini, a pan fried sandwich of sauteed morels, shallots, Urgelia cheese, and white truffle butter on sunflower wheat, “best grilled cheese ever”
  • Plato de Iberico, “the greatest acorn-fed ham in history, especially from Jabugo or Guijuelo”
  • Tomato plate, “we wait all year for the pleasure”
  • Duck confit with figs, “confit glazed with figs, sherry, and garlic”
  • Cachetes de ternero,  “veal cheeks braised w pearl onions, marsala, green peppercons”
  • Porktopus, “octopus, pork belly, sauce of insanity”
  • Clams in coconut green curry, “favorite thing [sous chef] Mike Ketola cooks”

Five Finds on Friday’s Picks