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Plant-based diners rejoice!

Plant-based and vegan diners should be happy to know that their options for dining out continue to expand. Since we opened J. Selby’s in 2017 a number of other options have become available in the Twin Cities: Fig & Farro, Trio, and Seed Cafe, all in the Uptown area of Minneapolis and the very soon be reopened Reverie Cafe in south Minneapolis are obvious choices. But a number of local restaurants have implemented significant plant-based options, such as Pizza Luce (several locations) and The Tilted Tiki in Stillwater. I know there are more out there (and hopefully people will add to the list in comments). Now, add Masu Sushi and Robata to the list! While Masu has, for quite some time, dished up some magnificent vegan suitable sushi rolls, last night they upped their game to new heights with a 5 course vegan tasting menu at their NE Minneapolis’ Nomu Room. Chef Abbott Gould and GM Greg Mueller along with Sous Chef’s Sara Gobely (previously the kitchen manager at J. Selby’s!), Moriah Tran and corporate chef Jason Jacobson served up 5 amazing course of Japanese inspired vegan friendly dishes that should make all of happy to be around in this time of dramatic change.

The first course was Four Amuse Bites. From the bottom, a seared rice ball with seaweed filling, a wonton featuring cranberries and orange curry sauce, baked squash with coconut foam and a beet & rice ball with pureed root vegetables. The dallops of fresh wasabi root on the side was the prefect enhancement.

Second course was an amazing mushroom consomme featuring black trumpet mushrooms, enoki mushroom, leeks, tatso and udon noodles. Kind of like a ramen, but with soft, thick udon noodles and truly luscious consomme and (for this plant-based eater who is a little ambivalent about mushrooms) surprisingly delicious mushrooms & leeks. I would order this pretty much any day of the week and certainly would be a “go to” for comfort food.
Third course was Hijki salad with sea beans, mizuna, watermelon radish, kaki, yuzu and persimmons with a deliciously tart vinaigrette. I’ll admit that I’ve never been a fan of sea food (in my pre-plant-based days) and the oceanic flavors here are not part of my favored palate, the vinaigrette and persimmons were a beautiful accompaniment and offset the other flavors wonderfully.Fourth course was tofu 3 ways. From left to right there is tempura soft tofu with lemongrass shoyu, shiso, miso and avocado, based tofu with escarole, togarashi, and plum sauce,and koyadofu (freeze dried tofu) with ginger dashi, snow peas, beets and carrots.

After a palate cleansing shot of cucumber, mint, orange and pineapple, the final course was a matcha panna cotta with stawberries and dark chocolate shavings.

In all, the dinner was a triumph! I had the opportunity to talk with Chef Gould after the dinner and, based on the success of their first venture, he’s planning to try to repeat the experience 3-4 times in 2020, which gives us all reason to rejoice. Now if we can just get more restaurants and their chefs to join in the fun we’ll really have something going in the Twin Cities to write about.

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