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Mason Social, Chef Joseph Lennon's Modern American In The Former Esmeralda's Space Near Braddock Road Metro

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I can't offer much more than the fact that a banner for "Mason Social" is up on the side of the building at the corner of Madison and N. Henry. The building has had a fresh coat of paint and special use permits are in place with the city for various construction-related activities. The permits were filed by the owner of the property. That's the extent of what I've found in my internet searching.

Here's hoping it's something tasty and a nice addition to an area which could use some livening up.

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Soft opened this weekend, hard open yesterday. Bustling! Very busy in there, the bar area was pretty packed at 630pm and they were a little under staffed at the bar, but hustling hard. 6 beers on tap (surprising in this new world of everyone having 10+ taps), but selections were well thought out: Port City Maniacal and Optimal Wit, 3 Stars Saison, New Holland's Kolsch, Mad Fox ESB, and a random Cleveland porter from Great Lakes (wonder what part of the group has Rust Belt ties?). The wine list was manageable, as well, and I'm not knowledgeable so I won't go into details, but glasses ranged from $6.50-12, with bottles going down to under $30 to maybe $50. "Mixology" behind the bar, so those were probably good, as well, they had something with egg whites.

The inside of the bar is neat, pictures are online. Mason Jars hanging, good lighting, some tables up front. The dining area is very beautifully appointed, cozy and warm. We got the largest table in the back, my neighbors and their cutie pie one year old, the GOP operative (who's picked his candidate), another part of the physics team and his little brother, and the cardiologist in tow. We got a bunch of different things. The menu is sort of American fare with all the new common foodie things - pork belly, brussel sprouts, fancy meatballs, stuff with marrow on it, you know the drill. It isn't to say that it's original - it's just the new normal. Brussel sprouts are the new cheese sticks (or, something like that). We got

1. Lamb and Pork meatballs - infant went to town on these, I got one, good texture, marinara sauce was good

2. Pork belly - good skin of this, fatty cuts; the slaw on the side was jicama but tasted like apple to me, I liked that

3. Beer mussels - didn't try, got eaten, so probably good

4. Mac and Cheese - I like gruyere, so I liked this version

5. Pork and Slaw sandwich - their version of pulled pork, tender meat, good sauce. I really like the jalapeno bun, I never eat a full bun but I did this time.

6. Marrow burger - don't eat beef, was housed

7. BBQ fries - paprika and something else on them. Tasty

8. Dessert - nutella brownie. Weakest link. Brownie not great. Nutella, as always, fantastic.

This place is super cool. First night, service was on point. Lots of random managers and supervisors checking in, the waiter shook every single one of our hands (that was sort of unexpected). There is energy and vibe and cool, here. I liked the environment, Parker Grey is starting to happen. I imagine this will do for this area what Evening Star did for Del Ray in the mid 1990s. I'm very happy this place opened up. I liked the food, but didn't absolutely love it, but hopefully that gets better with time, and I'll become Norm here.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Mason Social!


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Thanks for the early report, Simul!  It sounds great and I'm looking forward to checking it out very soon. The space has been completely transformed from the days of Esmeralda's and, before that, Pedro Tio's. Very cool that they've incorporated some of the local history into the name and design.

As a (relatively) longtime resident of the neighborhood, it's exciting to see the evolution that is happening.  After years of nothing, it's hard to believe there will be three local watering holes in less than one block, once the speakeasy part of Sugar Shack opens.

In the interest of accuracy, I have to point out that the neighborhood is called Parker-Gray - or more correctly Uptown/Parker-Gray - and it is listed on National Register of Historic Places.  :)

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Thanks to the snow and delayed arrival yesterday, my wife and I rode in together, which means we rode home together, which took us right by this place, so we stopped in and checked it out.

There are two rooms - the bar room with a door on Rt 1 (N. Henry St) and the restaurant with a door on Madison St. And obviously, the two rooms are connected on the inside. We sat in the bar room, but not at the bar. They have a traditional bar that takes up less than a quarter of the space, and the rest is open for standing room or tables. They had one 3-seat table in the corner which we grabbed and 4 of the same sized tables pushed together to make one large communal table in the middle. There were also 6(!) flat screens in this room. The full menu was available in the bar.

We ordered the Lamb and Pork meatballs ($12). There were 4 and they were very tasty. If they upped the ratio of lamb to pork, I wouldn't complain one bit. We split the Marrow Burger ($15) which came with their BBQ fries. Both were fine but nothing special. The burger was ordered medium rare and came out VERY medium, but it was still fine. The fries were good, but basic. Based on the menu description, I thought they'd be a little more layered, but just tasted a lot like fries sprinkled with smoked paprika. My wife got a side of Mac and Cheese which I didn't try.

Best part of the place was the affordable wine list (see attached)......a $31 dollar French Chardonnay! The Linden (VA) Claret for $34! The most expensive wine on the entire list was a $44 Argentine Malbec. They didn't have a huge list by any means......9 reds, 6 whites, 4 sparkling, but it was so refreshing to not feel gouged on wine. That alone will probably get us stopping at this place much more often than other Old Town joints.

The service was very good too......super friendly, and relaxed. You'd have no idea the place has been only officially open for one day!

Food and wine menus are attached.



EDIT - I forgot to mention there was no marrow taste or flavor detected in the Marrow Burger

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I had a decent but decidedly keep me on my diet portion of nachos at Mason Social for happy hour.  I also had some at Tazza Kitchen which were a little skimpy on toppings, but the chips were great and it made up for it.

If you (or anyone else) find anything at Mason Social that you really like, please let me know.


Wow! I forgot about their wine list - those prices really are pretty appealing. Thanks for posting those menus, Bart.

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Hubby and I ended up at Mason Social when we couldn't get into Chop Shop, as he had never been before.  I think Mason Social has a decent happy hour, and I like their smaller dishes- empanadas, egg rolls, wings, quinoa salad, kale salad and things from the bar menu more than entrees generally.  I ended up getting the Peruvian Chicken- I know it was a bit of an odd choice from here, but I was feeling kind of indecisive.  The chicken was good, as was the green sauce, not like Don Pollo good, but probably as good at like Edy's.  The yellow sauce needed a little work.  The cucumber tomato salad was really tasty, and fresh.  I like my yuca on the overdone side, and this was fine, but it could have been in the fryer just a tad more, and would have benefited from better yellow sauce, but all in all fine.  Not the most creative place in town, but it's the type of place that is decent, not too pricey, you can normally get in- it's kind of a take your parents type of place, not in a bad way, sort of like Clyde's in a way.  

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Went back to Mason Social the other night with Hubby and Mom.  Hubby had Jambalya pasta.  Mom had capresse salad and meatballs.  I had the thai green lemongrass wings and a caesar salad.  The salad was fine, if boring- needed a bit more acid in the dressing.  I liked the wings, and thought the sauce was different than your normal in a good way.

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