Friday, August 28, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs: Woburn—Masa

This Bostonist got her first brief taste of Masa at the Taste of the Nation event in April. They were serving duck empanadas from their downtown location, a unique dish that really stood out in a night of outstanding food. So, when we discovered that there was a Masa in Woburn and that they were serving a restaurant week menu during the entire month of August, we couldn’t resist. The décor is pleasant and well planned, an obvious southwestern flare expressed in intricate brass wall hangings; providing a great topic to fill any lulls in conversation. The place was full, though not packed, when we visited and the lively light fixtures and fascinating art gave the room a cheery and welcoming atmosphere.
Initially excited by the promise of ½ liter pitchers of sangria for 5 dollars and 5 dollar margaritas, we were delighted to find a prix fixe menu that provided a decent showcase of what this fabulous restaurant has to offer.

The appetizer was a delicious, BBQ short rib quesadilla with truffle crème fraiche and fig salsa. This was an amazing combination of textures and flavors. The beef was tender and sweet with just a hint of salty cheese which contrasted beautifully with the crispy tortilla and the light hint of crème fraiche. The real surprise on the plate was the fig salsa, wonderfully sweet dried figs infused with quite a bit of smoky kick.

The steak frites with guajillo bourbon sauce were a slightly different take on an old standby. The steak was tender and the bourbon sauce provided a subtly spicy and sweet accent and an excellent dipping sauce for the crisp salty frites. The chili lime arugula salad rounded out the plate by adding a fresh touch, the tang of the lime cleansed the palate as it cut through the lingering flavors of the bourbon sauce.

We ended our pre-fix menu with a molten chocolate cake. The cake was not quite molten, more soft and nicely rich and chocolaty. The vanilla ice cream was very light, the perfect accompaniment. Surprisingly the fresh raspberry sauce stood out above the other items on the plate, pleasantly intense with the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Overall Masa was a great dining experience; the staff was friendly and accommodating. The sangria was very tasty, though more fruit juice than wine, and the margaritas were a decent size for five dollars and by contrast deliciously potent. We highly suggest concentrating your dining on Masa’s southwestern dishes since this seems to be where they really shine. Masa’s menu is available on their website, as well as directions and special events.

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