Dining Notes: Masa's
One of the most memorable dinners that I've enjoyed during the past six months was on Valentine's Day at Masa's, and I was frankly unprepared for just how good that meal would turn out to be. Sure, Bauer had given the restaurant a 3.5-star rating back in August of 2005, and I had certainly been hearing some buzz about Short and his kitchen. But I had interpreted that to mean that Masa's was merely on the rise, not that it was already offering a dining experience on par with other 4-star restaurants in town. Boy, was I wrong.
|Masa's: At A Glance|
|Pastry Chef||Keith Jeanminette|
|Address||648 Bush St.|
San Francisco, CA 94108
The pre-set six-course menu served by the restaurant that night had numerous standout items, including Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms with Perigord Truffles and Pear Puree, Maine Lobster with Heirloom Beets, Wild Striped Bass with Carrot Puree and Short Rib Ravioli, and Roasted Loin of Milk-Fed Veal. Equally important, the other items on the menu were all excellent as well, and the service was polished and professional -- making for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I was so impressed, in fact, that I felt compelled to return for another dinner at the restaurant a mere six weeks later. And once again, we were treated to a wonderful tasting menu that included Sea Urchin Custard with Yuzu Butter and Chili, Miso Lobster with Sticky Rice, and Seared Foie Gras with Melted Spring Onions and Brioche.
In some sense, the fact that Masa's is performing at such a high level should not be a surprise. Gregory Short has an impressive background, including a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and seven years' worth of experience -- several of them as Sous Chef -- at The French Laundry. Similarly, Masa's has had a long and rich history of attracting top-tier talent to head up its kitchen, from founder and opening chef Masataka Kobayashi, to Julian Serrano, to Ron Siegel. Combine a talented rising star like Short with a restaurant that's well-acquainted with excellence, and the result is almost preordained.
So, how well does Masa's really measure up against the Bay Area's four-star restaurants? To answer that question thoroughly, I would probably want to explore Short's menu a bit further. But even at this juncture, I can comfortably say that the food at Masa's surpasses that served at Chez Panisse and La Folie, while the service is better than that found at Chez Panisse, La Folie, Manresa, and Fleur de Lys. In light of this, you can see why I believe that Masa's deserves to join the others in a four-star rating.
So, if you get the chance, check out Masa's -- I think that you'll be very pleased!