Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Business

At Masa Asian Bistro & Bar, it's all about quality

RECOMMENDED READING


WEEKI WACHEE — In Chinese, masa translates as "quality." Extrapolating, Angel Huang of the new Masa Asian Bistro & Bar, adds, "all things good."

At the three-cuisine restaurant, the good runs deep, from freshly made delicacies and dinners to elegant surroundings and professional, steeped-in-Asia chefs.

"I see no like Asian restaurant here," said Huang, who owns Masa with her husband, Cash Huang, both 35.

Other takeout and sit-down restaurants churning out Far Eastern fare specialize in one country's style, explained Angel Huang. The extensive Masa menu serves up specialties of the Big Three: Japanese, Chinese and Thai.

The New York natives of Chinese lineage, now Weeki Wachee residents, bring their big-city flavors and flair from more than their culture — also from their Big Apple dining experiences, plus nearly a decade operating a Masa bistro in the Washington, D.C., area.

Each Asian cuisine has individual nuances, Angel explained: Japanese is raw and vegetable-laden; Chinese is rice-heavy; and Thai is spicy to the -est.

"No egg foo young here," she declared of the sham-Asian egg dish for the masses.

At the local Masa, Japanese sushi, both raw and cooked, and hibachi-grilled are customers' favorites, said Angel, who manages the front of the house with grace and an ever-present smile.

Twenty varieties of sushi and its cousin, sashimi, stack the menu, ranging from friendly yellow fin tuna to exotic eel and flying fish egg. They are accompanied by 20 chef specialty rolls, featuring combinations of seafood, gill fish, fresh vegetables, rice and sauces spicy to sweet.

Considering the predominantly older population here, Angel pointed out, sushi rolls are wrapped in tender soy paper. Traditional seaweed wraps are "a hard bite," she said.

Cash, the executive chef, is master of the sushi roll, performing his craft, snapping up ingredients from a glassed cold case in front of awed diners seated in luxury at the sushi bar. His hands blur as he deftly assembles many-textured and colorful delectables into creations of palate-pleasing art, literally painted with their sauces. He accomplishes it in single-digit minutes.

Whether culinary or artistic skills come first, Cash shrugs. They are intertwined from birth.

Chinese fare, Angel said, is characterized by fried rice — a dozen protein combination choices here — and spring rolls, with more than 20 seafood-joined selections, each bundled with compatible vegetables and wrapped in translucent, edible rice paper.

Thai dishes Angel describes as "like curry. Everybody knows curries. Spicy hot."

Across the cuisines, broadly included are cucumber, red and green capsicums, pineapple, coconut, avocado, scallions, ginger root and basil. Meats run to chicken and beef.

Cultural cooking techniques embrace tempura-battered deep-fried, hibachi-grilled, stir-fried, all mastered by the culinary-trained, nine-member kitchen staff.

Full-course dinners to tasting plates are served, the latter appealing to the younger, evening crowd, who are also drawn to the full bar. Takeout is available.

Unique in comparison to other local Asian establishments, Angel noted: Masa's vegetables are fresh, never processed or frozen; rice is cooked nearly every hour, never held over; and fresh seafood, never frozen, is delivered daily or every two days.

Such practices may not be evident to a diner's eye. But the emporium's elegance is.

Subdued lighting. Recessed deep purple, royal blue illuminants. Black leatherette seating. Ebony and brushed stainless appointments. Crystal bead curtains. Linen napery. Minimalist chinaware.

It adds up to the Huangs' delivery of "all things good," insisted Angel Huang, adding, "We want to make all customers happy."

Contact Beth Gray at graybethn@earthlink.net.

Comments
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Updated: 11 hours ago
A new threat this shopping season: toys that can spy on kids

A new threat this shopping season: toys that can spy on kids

ST. PETERSBURG — Not all sinister toys are as obvious as a Chucky doll. Many present more subtle threats — choking hazards, high lead content, privacy concerns. And as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks off, consumer advocates are urging s...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Indian automaker plant is latest sign of Detroit comeback

Indian automaker plant is latest sign of Detroit comeback

It has been years since Detroit, birthplace of the American auto industry, was a steady producer of the manufacturing jobs that defined it as the Motor City. But its comeback is entering a new phase.The latest milestone came this week, with the annou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Associated PressWASHINGTON — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Ybor ’s first public school, long gone, still has a story to tell about district’s history

Ybor ’s first public school, long gone, still has a story to tell about district’s history

TAMPAIt’s been more than a century since Ybor City’s first public school was demolished on the plot of land now identified as 1311 E Eighth Ave.For the past 22 years, the popular concert venue New World Brewery took up the space and one next door. No...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

ST. PETERSBURG — World and national tragedies are changing the city’s approach to security for special events at North Straub Park.With the approach of the holidays, concrete barricades have been erected at a section of the park’s perimeter, where Fo...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Copa Airlines to fly daily nonstop from Tampa to Panama next summer

Copa Airlines to fly daily nonstop from Tampa to Panama next summer

TAMPA — Panama’s Copa Airlines, which four years ago became the first airline to offer service between Panama and Tampa Bay, said it is increasing its nonstop service between Tampa International Airport and Panama City to daily flights starting in Ju...
Published: 11/21/17
Irma did not stop tourists from setting record visits to Florida so far in 2017

Irma did not stop tourists from setting record visits to Florida so far in 2017

Despite Hurricane Irma, Florida hit another record high number in tourists visiting the state in the first nine months of this year, according to figures released this week.Visit Florida, the state’s tourism bureau, said 88.2 million visitors came to...
Published: 11/21/17
FCC chairman unveils proposal to repeal net neutrality

FCC chairman unveils proposal to repeal net neutrality

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday followed through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally, setting up a showdown ...
Published: 11/21/17
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Published: 11/21/17