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Masa, meh

digga | Feb 24, 2008 07:13 PM

Went to Masa for the first time last night (Saturday). We have almost $300 in Phantom Gourmet gift cards from a well-meaning relative so we decided to check out Masa. Went early, ~6:30pm and nabbed the last two seats at the copper-topped bar. Interior is warm in lighting and color, but nothing special, especially in light of the recent South End splashy newbies opening left-and-right.

We started off with a mojito for him and a tempranillo for me. Starter of the tuna "cabo" roll. It came, fried up, and split in two, with a wasabi-tinged sauce and some greens. The breading on the rolls was not good. Way too bready. Similar concept at Pho Republique is much better. I removed the breading and ate just the fresh, raw tuna. Sauce had a nice kick.

Only then did the bread basket arrive - containing soggy cornbread (flavor was nice, though) and some generic white crusty bread. The dips were nice - garlicky, chunky hummus, sweet almond whipped butter, and I can't remember the third. After the bread basket, an amuse bouche came. Two crisp deep fried corn crackers with a red pepper spread which was fine.

Entrees were the (sorry, cut-and-pasted from website) ROASTED SALMON (farm-raised) WITH CHIPOTLE & HORSERADISH CRUST Warm Cucumber and Cilantro Relish, Crème Fraiche and Salmon Caviar ($20) and mine, the PAN SEARED GUAJILLO MAHI MAHI WITH RED CHILE COCONUT CURRY SAUCE Charred Corn and Avocado Salsa, Plantain Roasted Poblano Arepa ($21). They were both okay. The descriptions sounded much more enticing than the actual product. We both found spots of saltiness (he is the resident salt fiend in our house), which really distracted. I found his salmon to taste fresher and more lively than my mahi-mahi, as the salmon was rare and almost ceviche-like with the cucumber garnish. I found my sauce to be quite tasty, so I think someone knows their sauces in the kitchen, as this seemed to be a constant throughout all phases of our meal.

We never get dessert, but the banana bread pudding sounded tempting. That and the Sandman Reserve and the Graham's 6 Grapes ports were a nice finish to an okay meal. I really thought it was the best part of the meal and we are not sweets people. Plus, our bartender changed towards the end of our meal and he was much better than the ditzy-ish blond we had earlier. Don't you get irritated when you see staff standing around and chatting with each other instead of tending to the customers? Well, we saw plenty of that throughout our meal, but our second bartender/server was much more conscientious and attentive. He recommended the tasty, jammy 6 Grapes to us. We even moved down a couple spots at the bar because we got tired of overhearing the other staff gossiping and chatting in front of us.

$130 for one app, 2 entrees, 1 bread pudding, 3 glasses of wine, 1 mojito, 2 glasses of port. We'll use the rest of our gift card balance for at least a couple of meals at Cafe D. Gotta get back for dem fish tacos. Or maybe the tofu entree, which has always tempted me.

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