Rich Massabny is a theatre, arts, & food critic in the nation's capital. He has been quoted in the Washington Post and Washington Times. One of the most visible cable television personalities in the Washington, D.C. area, his celebrity chefs on cooking shows, his weekly reviews and his hour long talk show, reach over 3,000,000 homes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OVERWOOD Wood-Fired American Kitchen

     Old Town Alexandria is a favorite destination for  food lovers like myself. Just off King Street at 220 N.  Lee Street is a place that reminds me of Cheers. It’s called Overwood and everyone knows your name. Open seven years ago, Overwood, Wood Fired American Kitchen, was a delightful surprise. I didn’t expect such an eclectic menu which offers  Southern, Italian, Middle Eastern and American dishes, nor did I expect delicious fresh oysters and  perfectly fried calamari. Of course, these dishes are offered alongside Overwood’s  grilled steaks, baby-back ribs, and assorted pasta dishes, soups and salads. I really enjoyed the fresh gazpacho soup, soft shell crabs and fried oysters and the  mile high key lime pie for dessert was  really delicious.  On the weekends they serve brunch until 3 p.m. featuring woodfired steak and eggs,  southern biscuits and gravy, blueberry pancakes, eggs benedict and  several eye opening  drinks. Kudos to B. Errami and his  friendly staff for offering up a restaurant perfect for the neighborhood. For more information, call 703-535-3340 and  check the website at


     There’s a classy new Indian restaurant in southwest D.C. at 1101 4th Street, called Masala Art. It’s  in a brand new space just around the corner from the Arena Stage. My guest and I had a sampling of several specialties including chicken tikka, south Indian spicy fish curry in chili coconut sauce, lamb shank curry and goat cheese dumplings. Masala Art has quite the menu and one of the best parts is that each dish has a description.  Indian food is all about spices and flavor. Spices are called masalas, hence the restaurant’s name, Masala Art. The menu has appetizers, tandoori specialties, tawa selections, non-vegetarian and vegetarian entrees, biryani, breads, side dishes and desserts. Several dishes caught my attention such as the panipoori appetizer, puffed hollows with diced potatoes and chickpeas topped with chutney plus stuffed tandoori made with marinated potatoes stuffed with ricotta cheese and dried fruit. Also, lamb in a rich mint and cilantro gravy served with a side of their traditional nan or other bread selections. And for dessert, rasmalal—cottage cheese dumplings in sweetened milk.  Masala Art is owned by Atul Bhola. He and general manager, Jay and Masala Art’s chef, Ajay Ramola, have a real winner on their hands. Give it a try--you won’t be disappointed! For more information and reservations, call 202-554-1101 and check the website at They also have another location at 4441B Wisconsin Avenue Northwest.

ZEMFIRA STAGE - “Spamalot”

     Zina Bleck’s Zemfira Stage does justice to Monty Python’s Broadway hit, “Spamalot” at the James Lee Community Center Theatre at 2855 Annandale Rd. in Falls Church. First and foremost, there’s a great cast, a live orchestra led by Annette Fakoury and a whole lot of funny madness—so how could you go wrong? “Spamalot” is the delightfully silly spoof of the musical “Camelot”. King Arthur is played masterfully by Jim Mitchell and Stacy Crickmer  is The Lady of the Lake. What a set of pipes she has. Mitchell and Crickmer are both terrific singers and regulars with Zemfira Stage. The large cast including Mario Font as Not Dead Fred; Peter Ponzini as Sir Lancelot; Mike King as Sir Galahad; plus Brian David Clarke, Zach Fletcher---and others. There’s  a bevy of gals in the ensemble—and in, particular, Cambria Ungaro, a look-alike for Jessica Alba. “Spamalot” plays on weekends through August 29. For information and tickets, call 703-615-6626 and check the website at They can also be reached at Don’t Miss This One!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

FORUM THEATRE - - “Gidion’s Knot”

     One could hear that proverbial pin drop at the Forum Theatre the other night during its one act production of “Gidion’s Knot” by Johnna Adams. This two-woman play, set in a fifth grade classroom, was simply riveting. A mother, Mrs. Fell (Caroline Stefanie Clay) confronts her dead son’s teacher, Ms. Clark (Katy Carkuff) about details leading up his suicide. Mrs. Fell was combative and verbally unrestrained in her assault on the innocent teacher. Powerful acting! “Gidion’s Knot”  is a co-production by Forum Theatre and Herndon’s Nextstop Theatre. Cristine Alicea directs this serious production which closes on August 3 at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring. Michael Dove is Forum’s artistic director.  For information and tickets, call 202-643-4712 and check the website at


Monday, July 21, 2014


“An Evening with Danny Kaye”
     The great entertainer Danny Kaye is “back” at The American Century Theater starring in “An Evening with Danny Kaye.”  You thought Danny Kaye was dead?  Well, I saw him at Gunston Theater II, performing in a one man show. Oh, okay, so it was Brian Childers playing Danny Kaye---and he is terrific! I’m old enough to remember when Danny Kaye first started out in show business. TACT’s artistic director Jack Marshall first tapped Childers to become Kaye back in 2001 in a production of “Danny and Sylvia.”  Sylvia was Danny’s wife and wrote so many of the  patter songs he was famous for. How Childers pulls this off is quite something.  If you have ever seen any of the Danny Kaye movies, you need to see Childers because he IS Danny Kaye! This show is the 14th production presented as part of the Robert M. McElwaine Reflection Series. “An Evening with Danny Kaye” runs through August 16. For information and tickets, call 704-998-4555 and check the website at