Masa in Echo Park?
i ate there on Saturday night (01/26/08) with a party of 5 and it was not a pleasant dining experience.
my boyfriend threw up the crepes and the mussels gave my friend dia****a (sorry, i couldn't bring myself to say it on a food messageboard, but i felt the truth should be told!).
i had the bistro pizza (not sure why it took 30 minutes) with mushroom and pineapple and there was no flavor whatsoever. the sauce was indistinguishable and the crust was totally hard and tasted like it was made from a box. the only thing i could taste was the salty cheese.
i had a bite of BF's mushroom and spinach crepe and it was completely bland, no seasoning, wet, soggy, a pile of mush that resembled a quesedilla.
the crinkle-cut fries that they give you with the mussels are a joke-- they're frozen from a bag! how can you pair thick, tasteless fries with something as delicate as mussels?
overall the portions are WAY too big. the mussels and fries would barely fit on the table in front of my friend. the bistro pizza could feed 3 people. they really need to take some tips from Gordon Ramsey (haha, sorry, but its true!) and whittle down their menu to half the size it is now. focus on doing a few things really well, rather than doing a lot of things really poorly.
our waiter was nice, but too personal (he cussed a lot and was too buddy-buddy) and he made weird noises that were odd and startling (like "WOO WOO! when he'd bring our food out).
i'm never going back to Masa and I'm spreading the word...
Unfortunately, Masa sucks. We live in the neighborhood and we wanted to really like this place but the food is ver overpriced for what they give you, the servers are extremely nice but the owner's seem to be checking and double checking and bossing them around them which seems very obnoxious. They have a policy of NOT giving bread with your soup or salad after a certain time, which is ridiculous. Just have the bread pudding which i have to say is really good, other than that go somewhere else.
We've lived in the hood for years, but for some reason never made it over to Masa's. After reading all of the mediocre to bad reviews on Chowhound, we stayed away even longer.
But I'm happy to report that we've eaten at Masa twice in the last month and were pleasantly surprised. A tight ship it is not, but more a casual laid-back neighborhood hang-out. Would I come here in a rush? No way. But for a long lunch or leisurely dinner, it's great.
I've tried the tuna panini, on their homebaked bread with, I think, capers and some sort of aioli. I was expecting to hate it, but have to say it was beyond good. Even yummy for leftovers the next day.
Then the other night, we were craving creamy pasta for dinner. Michelangelo's was closed, as was 15 which we were going to try for the first time, but Masa was open so we decided to try their Masa Penne in a mushroom, sundried tomato pesto cream sauce with grilled chicken. Ok folks, this was really good, just what we were craving and again, so much better than we were expecting. It came with a whole little round loaf of their homebaked bread.
Maybe we've just lucked out with the ordering, but I'm definitely going back.
I'm totally shocked about the bad reviews. We consistently eat there and have had great meals. The carrot ginger soup is spicy and hearty. The bistro pizzas are great to share. If you order Chicago pizza and get a thick Chicago pizza you kind of have no one to blame but yourself -- thats they way you make Chicago pizza.
Its been packed lately, stays open late and has the best bread pudding ever made. All around a great place to go.
I have to totally, totally disagree. Like others here, I really want to like this place, but I just can't. I'm transplanted from Chicago and the pizza at Masa is a joke. The crepes are really beyond edible and their "home-made" panini bread is flavorless. The ingredients are obviously not fresh and even simpler items like salads are sub-par. Even an order of scrambled eggs I ordered at brunch were WAY overcooked, brown and rubbery (like I've said I've attempted many, many meals at my corner diner).
Even still, I go to read and sip some coffee because the atmosphere is friendly and relaxing. But I no longer can even bring myself to order dessert or a side item because they too, are horrible. The bread pudding? Are you kidding me? While most of their kitchen items take a good deal of time, my bread pudding was out in 10 minutes, and was totally undercooked and simply covered in a custard-like gelatin. I will continue to go for the coffee and atmosphere but would never, ever advise some to spend money on food here.
I would be very surprised to find out this place is really owned by anyone having anything to do with Patina. I have as a local given this place 3 tries and all were lack-luster. As stated before, the pizza takes eons. Its really discouraging to even want to order it as they repeat over and over how it will take an hour. I mean, in other restaurants, you can get steaks cooked to well done in less time. I remember going to Mimosa French Restaurant over in Fairfax area for years and being able to get their fresh handmade Alsatian tarte (pizza) in 10 minutes to table. I know a Chicago style should take longer but I feel its sort amaterish.
The servers seem scared of the owner/manager lady who looms over them all. Last time I was there, there was only two of us and the place only had one other table of people (mid-afternoon lull time) and the tension in the space was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. I could tell this lady makes the worker bees' lives HELL.
We got a spinach with candied walnut and baked goat cheese salad for appetizer since we love walnuts, right?
It came out, we start eating, no walnuts.
We call server over (nice enough guy) and tell him.
He goes away. Mind you, its not busy in there.
It became clear that he was not permitted to just go and get said walnuts. He had to go through a chain of command.
5 minutes later, tightly wound owner/manager lady comes over, says she is in charge and goes into this prepared lecture about portions and portion control and how they just can't be giving out extra walnuts b/c they are expensive.
We had to cut in and explain that NO BIG DEAL- like whoa, easy there haha- BUT our salad had no walnuts at all. It was on the menu right we asked? Again, we were already over it so we told her no big thing but we had ordered it specifically for the walnuts was all.
Should have ended there right?
She was vaguely apologetic having misunderstood the server clearly and she went away.
About 5 minutes later, the server comes back to tell us the chef will be making us a whole new salad.
At this point, we have eaten half of it. We said that wasn't necessary; we really just needed a bit of walnuts was all.
The table across the room started observing the whole train wreck from afar...haha...and all over a few nuts. Very dramatic, this lady and the Masa uptight experience.
So, he goes off for a few more minutes.
Finally, in a moment straight out of Fawlty Towers, the chef himself comes out in full chef regalia with a ramikin of...ta-da-daaaa!...you guessed it, walnuts.
We were practically choking to keep from laughing at the way it went down. He apologised a bit TOO profusely, poor guy. We assured him it was fine, added the nuts to our remaining spinach and ate it.
She had the server come and ask us if everything was okay a few more times as if we were these big a-holes. We assured him we were fine.
I felt like I had been in a fight by the time we left, all shaky and glad to get out of there.
Oh yeah, the time before, I had one of their pressed patty melts and it was super greasy and flavorless. I felt like I was in a dorm and someone using a Foreman Grill had repeated a burger from the night before.
Like I said I live here so I really wanted to like this place but after Walnut-Gate, no way. Its too pricey IMO for what it is.
I've eaten there many times and I usually eat the eggs with potatoes, bacon and toast. It's cheap and simple fare. I also like the machengo salad. The pizza was way too doughy for me. The chocolate croissants are good. It's comfortable and they let you loll over your meal. There isn't much else on the menu there that interests me.
I stumbled into Masa having not read the posts here, so I had no preconceived notions. I engaged in the process I call "defensive ordering" (i.e. don't order too adventurously in a place you don't know) and really lucked out. The "Spanish Burger" is fantastic! It has a perfectly cooked beef-chorizo patty enhanced with an onion-tomato mix inside on a nice little light Cuban bread-style bun with with Manchego cheese. Fantastic. Forget the fries...krinkly kut from a bag (cute for nostalgia but not for anything else). Very pleasant waitstaff.
Sorry, but Ithe worst food in Silverlake/Echo Park; I want to love this place as aI live in EP, but I've been here at least 6-8 times and well, like I said, I WANNA like it. Quite hinestly, the food is terrible (worst crepes I've had in LA) and ambience is S-A-D.
I keep hearing how the people that own/cook there are french trained, Patina pedigree, but maybe they were line cooks? Garde manger? I don't see any ingenuity here.
I agree with all of the other comments on Masa. The best that can be said of it is that it's easy to get a table! For great bakery items, I like Cafe Los Feliz on Hillhurst. Wonderful croissants, cookies and cakes, and good soups and mediterranean lunch dishes. It's a little gem.
I've only been to Masa once and was very disappointed. The servers were extremely friendly, but everything took forever. I had a crepe that was not good at all and my friend had a similarly unfulfilling egg dish. We also had a couple of pastries that were rather dry and flavorless.
I really wanted to love this place and this experience was at least g months ago, so it may have gotten better. They do have really good coffee.