I love calamari. Not the overly used, fried, gross calamari you see at every chain restaurant in the world. But the rich, flavorful texture that comes with perfectly cooked calamari.
And the dish I had at lunch at Masa in downtown Minneapolis yesterday is about as good as it gets—punctuated with a pile of what the menu describes only as “black rice.”
The calamari is perfectly grilled and simply prepared, arranged on top of a gorgeous mountain of black rice (arroz negro).
What makes the rice black? Squid ink. I really dig squid ink: it’s one of my favorite pastas at Bar La Grassa (with mussels), and now it’s in one of my favorite dishes at Masa. There’s something very sexy about it, and it gives the rice a really unique, slightly salty flavor.
At Masa, the dish gets its punch of color and mild heat from salsa verde; I’m also a sucker for the flavor of tomatillos (can’t wait until I get those from my CSA).
The lunch I had was really firing on all cylinders. The fresh ceviche of the day is always a delight—I really enjoyed the shrimp ceviche with mango. The sweetness of the mango paired with the tartness from the lime juice really worked for me.
And of course, Masa has a guacamole that rivals Barrio’s in downtown. It’s more creamy than chunky, using white onions and serrano chiles. You can order that as part of the 3 for $10 lunch special—pick guacamole, a half-torta, and a carnitas taco.
The best part: all three of these dishes are right around $10. The calamari is $9.25, the ceviche is $8.75, and the 3 for $10 lunch is… well, figure it out.
Masa’s got a great happy hour, with half-price margaritas (try the spicy Diabolita for $5) and one of my top Micheladas. But now it’s certainly back on my radar for a great lunch option on Nicollet Mall. Squid ink rice for all!
11th & Nicollet, Mpls.