Mas turns 6, wise beyond its years

When it comes to fashion, Dish cares more about how a salad is dressed than a staff. But we would be remiss not to admit that we're quite taken with the bow-ties, little black dresses, and cryptic tee shirts donned by the perennially fashionable staff at Mas Tapas. Dish recently found out what owner/genius Tomas Rahal had in mind when he ordered shirts with "PCPC" and "Bacon wrapped love" on the fronts, and we're not sure if we're in on the joke or if the joke's on us. But we like it.

Turning 6 this month, Mas is at an age where it's comfortable in its own skin, especially with a solid review under its belt from the Washington Post's Jane Black (who also took to Rahal's sense of humor in screenprinting). In 2008, Mas introduced us to Jam³n ib©rico, cured ham from Spanish pigs that eat a diet of mostly acorns. The restaurant was chosen as the party venue for the band Modest Mouse after it played the Charlottesville Pavilion in June. Rahal continues to cultivate relationships with local farms and small-production growers, and he calls it a "record year" for the harvest, and, we hope, awareness of the importance of sustainable farming. And we haven't forgotten that Rahal clued Dish in on a story or two.

In typical fashion, Mas will be celebrating its 6th anniversary in style on Sunday, January 25 from 8:00pm to 2:00am with DJ Quarter-Roy. Dish had the pleasure of attending "M5," the fifth anniversary party, and we have this advice to offer: block out your calendar on the morning of the 26th to prevent any early meetings from being scheduled, wear something unrestrictive and chic for excessive eating and dancing, set an aspirin and a glass of water on your kitchen counter, bring a camera, and take a cab home.

"As always we like to show our appreciation for what great customers, friends and staff we have," Rahal wrote in an e-mail announcement, "and this is the night above all others." Yes it is.

Dish shouldn't editorialize (New Year's Resolution, maybe) but we think the community responds well to restaurants that are unique to Charlottesville and to restaurateurs who wouldn't have it any other way. The party might be Rahal's way of thanking us, but we think he deserves a lot of credit.

Photo courtesy of Juan Esteves