Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
Restaurant Features: Bar
Location: Northeast Minneapolis, MN
Address: 330 East Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis MN, 55414 612-332-6278
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 4pm-1am , Sun 4pm-11pm
Atmosphere: Masu Sushi and Robata is located in Northeast Minneapolis, just a few blocks from Downtown, on Hennepin Ave and 4th Street. Inside the restaurant, you will instantly discover a wall bearing a large pair of painted-up eyes belonging to an unknown Japanese woman. The remainder of the restaurant is very contemporary, accessorized in black, red and Masu’s signature lime green. I was having a such a good time with my companions that I forgot to take photos of the restaurant. I hope to remedy this asap with a follow-up to Masu ;) Pictured below is a photo taken by Shea Link.
Menu: Izakaya (Small plates) include Japanese Cucumber, Steamed Edamame, Ginger Duck Gyoza, Sauteed Shishito Peppers, Agedashi Tofu, Crispy Pork Kara-Age, Crab and Edamame, Avocado and Oyster Tempura, Crispy Fish Chips, Oyster Shooter, Otsumami Snack, Tsukemono, Shredded Dried Squid, Oysters on the Half Shell, Beef or Tuna Jerky, and Miso Soup.
Robata are skewers that are grilled. Options include Sweet Corn, Asparagus, Japanese Mushrooms, Japanese Eggplant, Zucchini, Grilled rice Ball, Chicken Breast and Scallion, Chicken Livers, Chicken Thing, Chicken Wing, Chicken Meatball, Beef and Burdock Roll, Glazed Pork Ribs, Pork Belly, Pork Loin, Jumbo Shrimp, Mackerel, Sardine, Marinated Cod, Salmon with Scallion, and Scallop.
Sushi can be served as Nigiri or Sashimi. Selections include Akame (Barramundi), Tai Tai (Snapper), Suzuki (Striped Bass), Faux-nagi (Striped Bass) in the style of Unagi, Anago (Sea Eel), Iwashi (Sardine), Saba (Atlantic Mackerel), Aji (Horse Mackerel), Sawara (Spanish Mackerel), Shiro (Magura Albacore) , Maguro (Yellowfin Tuna), Sake (Scottish Salmon), Iwana (Arctic Char), Ika (Squid), Kani (Snow Crab), Hotate (Sea Scallop), Kaibashira (Cooked Scallop with Tobiko), Hokki Gai (Arctic Surf Clam), Ebi (Cooked Wild Shrimp), Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp-Spot Prawn), Awabi (Abalone), Uzura (Quail Egg), Uni (Sea Urchin), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Yuzu Tobiko (Citrus Flying Fish Roe), Masago Capelin (Smelt Roe , Habanero Masago Smelt Roe), Wasabi Tobiko (Japanese Horseradish Flying Fish Roe), and Tomago (Japanese Egg Omelet).
Sushi Rolls include Sake (salmon and cucumber), Kappa (Cucumber), Shinko (Pickled Radish), Takuan Tekka (Takuan Tuna and Pickled Radish), Sabakari Takuan (Mackerel, Pickled Radish and Green Onion), Dynamite (Tuna & Albacore Tuna with Avocado and Chili Sauce) , Spicy Iwana (Arctic Char with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Kaiware and Cucumber ), Yellow Submarine Mamenori (Soy Paper, Masago, Ikura, Burdock, Avocado and Quail Egg), BLT (Crispy Salmon Skin, Lettuce, Tomato, Basil and Spicy Masago Mayonnaise), Poke (Marinated Tuna, Wakame, Scallion, Avocado, Cucumber and Sesame), Spicy Tuna (Tuna with Chili Sauce, Burdock, Avocado and Kaiware), California Roll (Snow Crab, Avocado, Cucumber and Masago ), Firecracker ( Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes), Masu Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Habanero Masago, Avocado, Salmon, Scallop and Unagi Sauce), Chicken Teriyaki (Chicken Teriyaki with Cucumber, Avocado and Sesame Seeds), Rainbow Masago ( Cucumber, Maguro, Suzuki, Iwana, Hotate, Ebi, Tomago and Avocado ), Iwana Arctic Char, Ao-jiso Salted Shiso Leaves, Maguro Yellowfin Tuna, Kani Snow Crab, Oshinko (Assorted Pickled Vegetables), Wasabi Tobiko and Ikura Wasabi (Flavored Flying Fish Roe and Salmon Roe, Kani and Sesame Crab with Black Sesame Seeds), Ume Shiso (Pickled Plum and Japanese Mint), Kinoko (Assorted Japanese Mushrooms), and Uni (Sea Urchin and Yuzu Tobiko).
Price guide: Izakaya $5-11 Robata $2-6 Sushi $6-16
What we ordered: A couple of my companions started with the Oyster Shooter; which included a fresh raw oyster, raw quails egg, fresh garlic and scallions served in a shot glass, filled to the brim with Sake. Very exotic and Wonderful!
We then tried the Japanese Cucumber Salad which was wonderful. The cucumber was thinly sliced and arranged in a wavy pattern then topped with seaweed and a sesame dressing that was tangy and slightly sweet.
We also tried the Spring Rolls filled with crab meat and edamame. It was served with a spicy ginger dipping sauce. Each little crispy roll was about 2 bites but the texture was great.
One of my companions had an order of Miso Soup. I did not try this but it looked like ordinary miso soup.
For the Robata we tried four skewers, which we were told had about 5-6 bites each. All four were served on one plate which was passed around. We tried one Bacon-wrapped Asparagus skewer, one salmon skewer, ( I tried neither)
We also tried the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Shrimp Skewer. The one bite of robata that I tried was the bacon wrapped shrimp. It wasn’t the greatest due to the fact that the bacon was barely cooked except for a few char marks. As much as I love bacon, I am picky about how it is cooked and like it crispy over fatty. The robata was good but we were not impressed with the amount of food we got for $20
There were several of us dining on this occasion and we were hungry! Our initial sushi order included a Masu Roll, a Firecracker Roll and a Spicy Tuna Roll (pictured left to right). The Masu Roll had shrimp tempura, habanero masago, avocado, scallop, salmon and unagi sauce. This was good but the Firscracker Roll was a huge winner. It had Shrimp Tempura, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber with Spicy Tuna and Tempura Flakes on top. The taste and texture of this one was great. The Spicy Tuna Roll was also delicious and perfectly spicy from the chili sauce.
The first order did not satisfy our sushi craving nor our appetites so we ordered two more orders of the Firecracker roll and a Spicy Iwana Roll. We loved the Firecracker Roll as much the second time around and the Spicy Iwana Roll was also very good. It had Arctic Char that was spiced with chili sauce and cucumber, burdock and kaiware.
We continued to eat even after all the sushi had disappeared! We tried the Tonkatsu Curry Noodles, served with a panko-breaded pork cutlet and poached egg. This had a distinct Japanese flavoring to it but was quite tasty. The egg yolk really gave the broth a silky texture.
We also ordered the Shrimp Yakisoba, which is fried wheat noodles flavored with a sweet yakisoba sauce. It had several pieces of shrimp in addition to katsuobushi, which are dehydrated fish flakes, as well as pickled ginger and mayonnaise. The fish flakes were “waving” when the dish was first brought out to us; it was pretty cool to watch for a second before we dug in. The mayo gave it a slight creaminess which was a pleasant to the crispness of the veggies.
Service: We had a reservation made a couple of weeks in advance and our table was ready for us when we got there. I was fortunate to find a spot at a meter just outside the entrance to Masu, otherwise I am not sure where you can park. Our server had some personal favorites to suggest to us, some we went with, but many we chose on our own. The entire dinner experience was very drawn out, as we ordered many courses throughout the night. Masu is the type of place where you want to take your time to enjoy the experience.
Overall Impression: I had heard great things about Masu so I had very high expectations. I was not disappointed. The sushi was delicious, with fresh, high-quality fish, albeit slightly expensive. The Robata was also good but didn’t seem to be as good of a value, unless you plan to only eat a skewer or two. My companions and I really enjoyed Masu, I will definitely be back.