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Restaurants & Bars 3

Dinner with the Swanks: Masa Update

Swankalicious | Jan 8, 2012 03:55 PM

Hello Hounds,
I posted here a couple of weeks ago raving about the hospitality at Masa Woburn. When I made a complicated reservation--for a dozen people, including four children (two toddlers), and a birthday request--the man on the other end couldn't have been nicer or more reassuring.

Fast-forward. One night before our reservation, I got a call confirming my reservation for a party of *six*--not 12. Thankfully, they corrected the error and assured me that they had room for 12 people, tho the reservation was in the system for six. The afternoon of our reservation, I got a slightly snippy call from the restaurant saying they needed to confirm our reservation. I called right back. The woman on the other end said: "We just *actually* needed you to confirm this, since you're such a large party." It was phrased in such a way that I felt as though she was accusing me of not somehow knowing to call. It was strange, especially since I'd confirmed the day before. About ten minutes later, I got another call from the same woman. She was much nicer this time, and asked how many toddler chairs we'd need.

We were seated in a family-friendly area toward the back. Our waitress was brusque but friendly, and didn't seem daunted by a large and slightly unwieldy party. Her one downfall was drinks. She got my drink order completely wrong (after forgetting it once), and forgot the matriarch's glass of red wine. Also, the kids' food was brought out a good 20 minutes before the adults' food -- meaning we contended with unoccupied children while we attempted to dine. They did, however, have a wide-ranging kids' menu, which was appreciated.

As for the cuisine: I felt it was very batter-heavy. Ahi tuna cabo rolls were encased in an eggroll-like shell; the tuna was not seared rare as promised, but was white and dry, lacking flavor. Mr. Swank's sundried tomato and poblano raviolis came drenched in a sage cream that called to mind Elmer's Glue. Onion rings were heavy and massive; coconut shrimp looked ripped out of a Trader Joe's packet.

On the plus side, our dining companions raved about the habarnero margaritas; red snapper with smoked mussel salsa looked busy but was another hit. Pork shoulder with fig jam was put away quickly, too. Mother Swank seemed to enjoy her side of chips and guacamole. Young Swank appreciated the chicken tenders, which came with a tame BBQ sauce.

All in all, it was a people-pleasing option, a solid B or B-. I wouldn't hurry back here for a hot date with Mr. Swank, but it was a fine choice for a group.

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