unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been experimenting with being amish, you may have heard there is a new japanese food game in town – Masu, in northeast minneapolis (by lund’s). normally i am not one of those people who rushes out to try a brand new restaurant right away, but masu hosted a few days worth of preview dinners and after hearing the raves and seeing other people’s ridiculous photos of the food – well, i just couldn’t help myself. the mister and i scored 6:30 reservations for opening night, last night. aaaand (drum roll) you can believe all the hype because we had a fantastic time. the food was wonderful – salty, tangy, spicey, buttery textured meat – everything asian food should be. always. get ready for some cell phone pictures!
ginger duck gyoza with spicy plum soy sauce. gyoza (potstickers, dumplings, etc) is one of our all-time favorite food things. we’ve gotten it at every japanese place we have ever been to. the duck filling was great, the wrapper was perfectly steamed and had a very nice pan-fried crunch to the bottom. total win.
bacon wrapped shrimp and bacon wrapped quail egg. the quail eggs were actually one of my all time favorite items of the night. they were cooked just right and the slightly creamy yolk was the perfect compliment to the crispy edges and chewiness of the bacon. i’ll take 12, please! and c’mon, bacon wrapped shrimp?! in the words of ron swanson, “it is my #1 favorite food wrapped around my #3 favorite food.”
funny and awesome story related to the robata (grilled skewered things) – tim mckee himself brought out our robata. he set the plate down, we thanked him, he took a second look at me and goes, “is your name lisa?” me (proverbial jaw on the floor), “yeah!” tim, “i follow you on twitter!” boy, do i love the internet sometimes.
pork belly ramen that also came with roasted pork shoulder and a poached egg. the noodle bowl was much more beautifully arranged when it arrived at the table, but we were so excited that we ate about 4 bites before i realized i did not take a photo (being a food blogger is hard), so there you have it. would it be weird to say that this dish is simple but complex in a very pleasant way? the pork belly just melted on your tongue and the texture of it contrasted beautifully with the slighty crunchy bits of the roasted pork shoulder. throw in the ramen wrapped around a soft egg yolk and you’ve got yourself some noodle heaven right there. the mister and i were fighting for the last sips of broth.
sushi! masu also has plenty of sushi/sashimi/nigri options, if you’re into that. and i am. we got a poke roll and a spicy arctic char roll and both were fresh and light and impeccably rolled. fun fact – they only use sustainable fish and i think that’s pretty neat.
dessert time. japanese pancakes with mochi (red bean paste) and black sesame caramel. the pancakes were fluffy with just a tiny bit amount of chew, just way i like them. the mochi was sublimely sweet, but the star of this dessert was definitely the house made caramel. it was thick and velvety, almost like a mousse. i wanted to lick the plate, but contained myself, we were in a full restaurant after all.
we did not take photos of any of our drinks…oops. the mister had a ginger infused whiskey that was wonderful, talk about warming up your belly on a cold night. i had a dance party punch which was lychee and aloe vera juice mixed together with a kiwi garnish, umm, delightful. i drank two.
pachinko machines line the wall back by the bar/bathrooms. we played for awhile before leaving even though we had no idea how and all the words were in japanese. but don’t worry, i looked up the instructions on wikipedia after we got home.
other notes: our service was spot on and two smoking hot asian ladies were the hostesses. bonus points! dania, kate and i will be hitting up masu for lunch in a couple weeks. yes, please.