Food For Thought: Masu Sushi & Robata

Masu Sushi & Robata – my favorite Japanese venue in the greater Minneapolis area – has waited far too long for a blog post. This modern grill and sushi emporium brings a refined and classy approach to Japanese cuisine into Minnesota.

From the outside, the restaurant is unassuming and decrepit in appearance, but as you open the doors you’re suddenly transported to the heart of downtown Tokyo. Electric greens, with accents of red, black, and white dominate the space, making you feel immersed in modern Japanese culture. The restaurant sports tons of cartoonish Munny Dolls, designed by over fifty local artist. The dim lighting exudes seduction, making Masu the perfect place for a date. Two of the walls in the restaurant are intricately painted with photographs of geishas, adding to the restaurants allure.  The ceramic table settings give a rustic quality to Masu’s modern edge. Even the ceramic soy sauce pots present a semblance of both the old and new Japan. If you’re already overwhelmed with Masu’s amazing ensemble, wait till you hear this: the restaurant has a Japanese ping pong wall otherwise known as a pachinko parlor. When I decided to give the game a try, I failed miserably.

The food at Masu is nothing less than extraordinary. My favorite item on the menu, nay my current food obsession, is the Tonkatsu Curry Ramen. Yes, you heard it here folks. Masu Sushi & Robata makes Ramen noodle soup, but it’s not what you would expect. The heavenly concoction comes complete with crispy pork that adds a delectable texture to the mix and a soft poached egg that when broken, oozes a gooey yolk throughout the broth, making it rich and sticky. Oh, and let’s not forget the earthy Chinese broccoli that’s slightly crisp. When these delectable ingredients are combined with thick, al dente ramen noodles, what could go wrong? Another of my favorite Masu offerings is the Firecracker Roll. The thin sushi roll is clean in presentation and served on a stilted wood block with ginger and wasabi on the side. To cleanse my pallet before diving into the sea of sushi, I always eat a piece of ginger. To call the roll a firecracker is truer than true. It’s both spicy and explosively flavorful. The Firecracker Roll brings crab, avocado, cucumber, sticky rice, nori, tempura coated shrimp, and spicy tuna all topped off with crispy tempura flakes together into one cohesive and flavorfully deep sushi roll. It’s the best sushi I’ve had to date and I have renowned sushi chef Katsuyuky Yamamoto to thank for that. The last time I was at Masu I decided to try one of their desserts. I went for the green tea mochi and was pleasantly surprised by its pure awesomeness. For those who don’t know, mochi is balls of ice cream wrapped in dough. At Masu, the dough was thick, coated in flour, extremely soft, and color kissed green which tied the dessert into the restaurants color scheme. The green tea ice cream underneath was bold and refreshing.

From its sushi to its cultural experience, Masu Sushi & Robata is a force to be reckoned with. Everything about it is simply amazing. If you haven’t delved into a bowl of their homemade ramen or played pachinko in the parlor, I would strongly suggest you get there as quickly as possible. It’s an experience like no other and you will always come back for more.