“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Is it sad or clever that I just invoked an old Styx song to review a new Japanese restaurant, Masu Sushi and Robata. Well, I’m writing after midnight on a Sunday, so judge ye not. At any rate, this new Japanese spot in Northeast Minneapolis was a welcome addition to the Asian-inspired dining scene. I think there are several good sushi spots in the Cities already, but this latest restaurant concept from local chef-restauranteur star Tim McKee, is worth the visit because it also features noodles and robata, which is not common in these parts. So not common, in fact, that I had never even tried robata until last night (robata is small bites of meat and veggies skewered and grilled on a Japanese hibachi grill).
Started out with the “Nigori” sake flight, which included three different types, my favorite was the sparkling variety, called the Hou Hou Shu, so smooth and effervescent, great with the salty and savory small bites we were having… like this izakaya (small plates) we ordered, beef jerky. Shocking to some, but I’m a beef jerky hound and really, just like any excuse to eat it outside of what I find on a road trip at a gas station! So, while I liked the sriracha type dipping sauce served with it, I don’t know the jerky was anything to get excited about, but I just like jerky, so it was good. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
Then we moved onto some sushi rolls (all seafood sustainably sourced, and yes, extremely tasty) and robata grilled rice balls — crispy on the outside, sticky rice on the inside — smoky from the grill and super yum! I ordered three robata as well, the bacon-wrapped asparagus (great, and they had several robata which involved bacon, smart move!), beef short ribs (probably my favorite of the three), and pork belly (tasty, tender, but super rich and fatty – obviously, its pork belly).
Lastly, as a side note, if you’re a regular reader you know I’m always harping on service, and I must note that the service was very good @ Masu. Our waitress was attentive, competent, and patient with us as we made our way through the menu. Impressive since they opened less than a month ago and the food pacing was pretty good as was the execution and knowledge of our server.
Happy to try this again since I like the novel concept, the vibe of the place is casual but still feels like an “experience” and the variety on the menu naturally leads one to want to return. Speaking of, next time I’m definitely getting the noodles, as one of our friends had the gourmet ramen and it looked great.