Masa is located right on Nicollet Mall in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. When I hear Mexican, my mind goes to some small hole-in-the-wall divey place that still serves up a mean margarita and a tortilla-wrapped something slathered in red sauce and cheese. Next to that, Masa feels upscale, even though it is supposedly a casual dining spot.
Masa has some delicious margaritas. My favorite is the Margarita de Diabolita. Below are the 3 we had:
- Margarita de Diabolita – Habanero-infused Cabrito Silver tequila, Licor 43, ginger, fresh lime, blood orange, passion fruit and pomegranate juice
- Margarita de Fruta – 100% Cabrito Silver tequila, Triple Sec orange liqueur, and lime juice with your choice of mango, pink guava, blood orange, ginger, or strawberry (shown is the mango version)
- Masa Margarita 1800 Reposado tequila, Gran Gala orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice
As with any Mexican restaurant, Masa serves up chips and salsa. But this is much fancier than the typical red plastic basket. We enjoyed these while we picked from a special Cinco de Mayo menu. We had a selection of 4 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 3 desserts and could choose one from each category. Here are our selections with mine listed first in each category:
- Ensalada de Corazon de Palmitos – Fresh hearts of palm, local cherry tomatoes, red onion and avocado salad with mixed baby lettuces dresed with cilantro lime vinaigrette
- Sopecitos de Tinga – Sopes filled with black bean puree, shredded chicken, chipotle, crema, and queso fresco
- Queso Fundido con Frijoles y Chorizo – Caramelized vegetables, pinto beans, and chorizo, with Negro Modelo, and Chihuahua cheese
- Brocheta de Camerone con Pina y Jalapenos – Grilled achiote marinated shrimp, skewered with pineapple and jalapenos topped with an achiote sauce served with white rice
- Enchiladas con Pato con Mole Colorado – Two traditional light corn tortillas are filled with Chihuahua cheese, shredded duck, mole colorado, shredded romaine and crema anejo
- Chiles en Ahogada – Poblano pepper filled with veal, fried in meringue topped with cream sauce, and pomegranate seeds
- Pastel de Tres Leches – Three-milk cake with sweet lime crema
- Churros – Warm fritters with canela cinnamon sugar and Oaxacan chocolate sauce
The sopecitos were by far the most delicious of the 3 appetizers. I enjoyed my salad because that is what I was in the mood for, but the queso dip was pretty bland. All 3 entrees were solid, though. The sauce on my skewer was very flavorful, and I appreciated that the jalapenos added a decent kick to the meal. As for dessert, I’ve mentioned that I’m generally not a big dessert eater, but Masa’s tres leches cake was perfect. The cake was perfectly drenched without being soggy, and it had just the right amount of lime to keep it from getting too heavy. Masa definitely serves up the best classy-end Mexican I’ve had in the area, though it may be the only one I can think of in that category.
We split the tab, and my portion was $51 including tax and tip. I believe this also included a total of 5 or 6 margaritas split between 3 of us that are $10 each. Not too bad for Nicollet Mall.