Masu Sushi and Robata

Twin Cities, Minnesota


rating star

Special vegan menu. Staff is knowledgable about what's vegan. I've been to the NE and MoA location. Lots of great vegan options I haven't found at other sushi places. On top of that, it's pretty darn good. Service was pretty good at both locations. Pretty quick, too. Employees are pretty good at being attentive but knowing to stay out of the way so you can enjoy the folks you came in with.

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rating star

this was by far one of the best meals, and service that i've had in awhile. my sister and i are both vegans, and we went out for a belated work-holiday dinner on a monday. the restaurant was only 1/3 filled, ,and that can be dicey- either your servers are slacking due to the lack of customers, or they give you their full attention; tonight we got full attention. first and foremost, i L-O-V-E when a place has either clearly marked veg food, or a separate menu, and masu has a separate vegan menu that actually goes as far to asterisk items with miso, because some vegans may find miso unacceptable due to the live yeast- holy crap. i for one am a miso loving mother f***er, but i think that goes to show how far they are willing to go to please all preferences. they also have an extensive gluten-free menu as well.
my sis and i got 2 grasshoppers due to how awesome they are, a caterpillar, tempura appetizer, ginger chile soba noodles, and robata eggplant. the eggplant is a must for all eggplant-o-phobes. it's smoky, crispy, creamy, and meaty-mushroomy heaven. yes, it's 3.50 for 1 skewer, but you can also pay 4$ for a skewer of crappy fried pickles at a not-so-good place down the road, so i'll gladly fork over my money for these. i also really loved my ginger chile soba noodles; they were salty, sweet, and lightly spicy. my favorite though, after the eggplant, was the vegan grasshopper. not only can you get vegan tempura (!) here, you can get a sushi roll stuffed with avocado and tempura asparagus thats been freaking rolled in crushed wasabi peas- wasabi peas!
as far as price goes, our table of 3 had 5 premium cocktails, 5 sushi rolls, 2 apps, noodles, and a few sides (hell yes we can eat) and before tip we only racked up $140. i say only, because i've done just as much damage at other sushi joints without nearly as much fun food to sift through, sans drinks.
the atmosphere is fine, our server was on point with vegan tips and recommendations, and kept what usually turns into a hot mess of a table, nice and tidy the entire time.

rating star

Masu was ranked one of the top new restaurants of 2011 by most local critics. Its diverse menu - including sushi, robata (grill) and noodle bowls - provides a nice array of Japanese cuisine. Thankfully for vegans and vegetarians, Masu has an entirely veg menu (ask for it when you arrive) that precludes the usual "does this come with bonito flakes" query.

The veg menu includes two larger, creative sushi rolls - the grasshopper and the caterpillar - along with several other typical avocado/cucumber/carrot offerings. Inari (rice stuffed in a fried tofu pouch) comes with umeboshi or shisito peppers. Appetizers include edamame, seaweed salad, agedashi tofu along with several other options. There are also several grilled vegetable options and soba noodle dishes.

I like the sushi rolls the best: they are aesthetically pleasing, tightly wrapped and flavorful. I thought the grilled eggplant was one of the most enjoyable eggplant dishes I have had - charred, smoky and exquisitely soft - but $3.50 only bought three miniscule pieces of eggplant and a little pot of miso glaze. I would pay more for an entire plate filled with that eggplant. The inari is good enough but it's a huge pouch and only a little of the flavorful topping. The agedashi tofu is steaming hot, billowy and uniquely textured but ultimately it was three pieces of fairly mild tofu for about $6.

I really like what Masu is doing, especially in regards to its respect for vegans and vegetarians. I think it has the best sushi rolls for veg eaters in town but its sides are small portions for high prices and can border on the bland. That said, it's hard to find complete satisfaction at Masu at a reasonable price. Another consideration to note: it does get crowded in the evenings and conversation must be held at a slightly elevated level.

Masu also has an extensive sake menu along with wine and beer (including Sapporo).

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