Masu Sushi & Robata
|Pork belly Ramen|
Last week I finally got around to trying out the new Japanese joint in NE Minneaopolis. Masu is a sushi & robata restaurant which combines traditional Japanese cuisine & hospitality in a hip, modern environment. Robata is a method of grillin
g over coal-fired grills popular in Japan. The design of the restaurant incorporates Japanese culture with modern elements such as arcades, wall murals and funky lighting. Walking into Masu for the first time I was thoroughly impressed. Masu looks and feels like the new wave of cutting edge design and culture filtering into the dining world. Flat screen TVS’s hang from the bar wall playing old Japanese flicks and decorative Japanese masks line colorfully and playfully along another wall. Rarely in my dining experience have I had such an overall feeling of success in a restaurant, and Masu hit all the bells and whistles. I went during happy hour and the place was bustling already on a Tuesday evening about 5:30pm. Our server was very attentive and sweet, never trying to sell us on the pricer options, which I appreciate having been a server. We order pork belly ramen, robata and shrimp tempura steamed bun. The robata arrives first. I have never tried traditional robata before and can now say that I am a fan! The bacon wrapped quail egg was my favorite for its smokey, creamy flavor. The sweet corn was delicious and the pork loin was average- a bit tough. Next we try the ramen noodles which arrive in a beautiful clay bowl accompanied by spinach, soft poached egg, pork shoulder, mock crab and togarashi spice, a beautiful blend of orange peel, black, white and toasted sesame seeds, cayenne, ginger, Szechuan pepper and nori. The broth had a wonderfully earthy full bodied flavor and not too salty. The egg was a rich addition to the broth and the added heat from the togarashi made this soup memorable. Lastly, we tried the streamed bun. The bun dough was so soft and chewy it felt like butter melting in your mouth- highly satisfying. the shrimp breaded in tempura was delicious and topped with a spicy mayo which brought the whole bite together into a cohesive concept. I loved every bite of what Masu has to offer and will certainly be back very soon!