MASA — November 4, 2010

14 12 2010

1070 Nicollet Mall

With its fresh and gourmet Mexican cuisine, MASA brings an attractive flavor to the city’s prominent Nicollet Mall. Situated on the 11th street corner, its large windows frame Nicollet’s hustle and bustle of tourists, business people and – due to its location on Target Plaza, just underneath the retailer’s main headquarters office – plenty of red and khaki.

We met our monthly dinner group for an after-work gathering, and began by sampling several servings of the Guacamole Picado. The guac was made to order, and came with a small side basket of thick, crunchy tortilla chips (which, thankfully, we had refilled more than once…). We also used the chips to try the tiny saucers of complimentary salsa – a heavy red sauce, a tangy green and a spicy tomato.

Our meals were excellent – terrific in taste, though differing in value. Jim had the Enchiladas con Jaiba – two light corn tortillas filled with king crab, pickled onions, green salsa, lettuce, and Chihuahua and cotija cheeses. The flavors were outstanding, and the taco fillings played up the taste of the crab instead of masking it. But, the tacos were small and – unless that crab had been flown in yesterday – left us wondering if the value of the delicious combination equaled the nearly $20 price tag. Mine, on the other hand, was a steal. The Tamal con Pollo a las Brasas – a grilled chicken tamale for under $15 – was the size of my forearms put together! It came wrapped in banana leaves and chard, and was stuffed with tender meat covered in red molito sauce and sprinkled with Chihuaua cheese. I ate almost more than I could bear and still had a good portion left on the plate. The flavors were bold and smooth, and even made for good leftovers the following day.

A table of 10 is probably not a server’s dream, but instead of pretending to be hospitable, the MASA wait staff made us feel like a bother. Not only were we painstakingly patient for the staff to take our orders (first drinks, then appetizers, next the entrees and finally the bill), it was another eternity until it arrived. Though we had multiple waiters and servers, no one was in communication – they must have all assumed someone else had taken care of us. To top it all off, the main waiter scoffed and rolled his eyes several times, including when we politely requested the bill after everyone had been finished for nearly 30 minutes. We initially sat for a 6:45 reservation, and finally signed the bill at 9 p.m.

MASA delivers upscale Mexican food, and earns bonus points with its cool ambiance and top-notch location. And though the service made our business feel unappreciated, it means we’ll just stick to more intimate dinners that the staff can handle. (We hear the lunch special is worth a noon trip, too.) The chefs at MASA turn an ordinary meal into a flavorful, chic fiesta – and that’s celebration-worthy any night of the week.

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠1/2
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Service: ♠

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠

Total bill, including tip: $48

Masa on Urbanspoon




One response

15 12 2010
Pham and Family Bury the Hatchet and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

[…] of MPLS.TV shares their food moments of 2010, fired Chipotle workers are speaking out, a blogger gives Masa a 3 for food and a 1 for service, Well Fed Guide to Life heads to Tuggs Tavern, Rachel reviews and kinda likes Scusi. » […]

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