Sushi Masa is not a new name for Japanese food enthusiasts in Jakarta, but we just had the opportunity to pay a visit for the very first time last month.
We decided to try this highly-appraised Japanese restaurant for its high quality dishes with a Japanese chef behind the counter. I had heard enough positive feedback and remarks from my colleagues and friends, fellow food bloggers and foodies, even strangers (which I know from reading their reviews online and so on), which made me curious enough to experience the “greatness” of Sushi Masa by myself.
I must say the ultimate reason why it took me that long to finally visit this place is the location. It’s inside (North) Jakarta, but far in Muara Baru area, inside the Pelabuhan Perikanan Samudera (PPS) Nizam Zachman. It took us more than an hour on a Sunday morning with smooth traffic from South Jakarta, and it felt amazing to see another side of North Jakarta like this area. Luckily, we made a reservation first and we arrived right on time of opening, so we got a table for 6 person right away.
Sushi Masa doesn’t only serve sushi and sashimi, but the menu selection is very extensive and quite impressive for a Japanese restaurant. It’s like, whatever you want to eat, they have it. As Sushi Masa is more popularly known for its sushi and sashimi, we focused on ordering those items to get a glimpse of their delicacies!
Maguro Natto IDR 40,000
For the starter, we tried the natto (Japanese fermented soybean), one with tuna and another one with squid. At the first glance, these bowls looked so beautiful with the color combination and super fresh ingredients. The natto was good but tasted just like instant, packed natto we can find here in some Japanese supermarkets; while the tuna was undoubtedly fresh, smooth, and not fishy at all. Adding shoyu will definitely enhance the flavor!
Ika Natto IDR 35,000
The squid version of the menu above.
Kaisen Salad IDR 70,000
This salad topped with high-grade seafood is definitely one of the highlights of our lunch that day. Everything in there screamed fresh, fresh, and fresh. See the picture and you’ll understand why.
Eihire IDR 50,000
Eihire or dried stingray fin is a very popular menu in Sushi Masa, and I heard they used to serve this with a separated grill so the guests can actually experience the “grilling” process by themselves. Due to massive orders, I think they changed the system and no longer provide the grill and do it right away in the kitchen, and serve the dish already grilled and ready to eat.
I am not really a fan of eihire but I love eating it with alcohol drinks like beer. I usually keep chewing until the flavor comes out more but I think I mostly do that because the texture itself is a bit hard and chewy.
California Maki IDR 45,000
Not so creative selection of the sushi roll but I was playing safe, I know. Honestly, there was nothing special about this.
Spicy Tuna Maki IDR 45,000
Really messy, ugly looking sushi roll which turned me off right away. Taste-wise, it was okay but again, I was expecting something more WOW and so far I wasn’t impressed.
We tried Kinmedai Sashimi IDR 40,000/pc & Kanpachi Sashimi IDR 40,000/pc because these two are quite recommended by the regular patrons. Both fishes have really beautiful white-ish color with transparent meat. Taste-wise, I love the Kinmedai more because it had a sublime flavor that is unpredictably coming from a sashimi.
Since the options for sushi are A LOT, we tried some that we really wanted to eat so we ordered: Salmon Belly Sushi IDR 35,000/pc, Beef Aburi Sushi IDR 35,000/pc, Salon Belly Aburi Sushi IDR 35,000/pc, Anago Sushi IDR 50,000/pc, Kinmedai Sushi IDR 40,000/pc, Katsuo Tataki IDR 15,000/pc.
The sushi has a shape like authentic Japanese sushi in premium sushi restaurants in Japan, long-shaped and the fishes totally covered the rice like blankets. Presentation-wise, the sushi looked so fine and appetizing because of the glistening, sparkling surfaces of the fishes. Taste were good but much lower than our expectations, again, we felt that these were not as good as people always gush about it.
Kare Udon IDR 90,000
Curry was too thin and watery, smelled and tasted like Indian curry paste, it wasn’t bad but it was just… different.
Saba Misoyaki Set IDR 80,000
Love the saba misoyaki, the fish was soft and boneless, sauce was perfect. The set comes with rice, salad, miso soup, and oden. The sides were a bit too bland but thanks God the focus here was the saba.
Hokkaido Ice Cream IDR 26,000/scoop
Tried some of the available flavors like Salt Caramel, Rum Raisin, Yuzu, and Yuba Tofu. The ice creams were too frozen to be enjoyed fully. Flavors were great, though.
We didn’t take many pictures of the restaurant, but the place is actually much smaller than what I imagined. There is a sushi counter and main dining room, complete with Japanese-style ornaments and warm-colored wooden furniture. We wanted to reserve the table near the glass window for better lighting, but in the end we got the most inner side area with no natural light at all because we were in 6 person group. Too bad.
This was our first time here and I didn’t know what’s wrong but we were barely impressed. Our friends who also came with us are avid fans of Japanese cuisine and they have experienced eating authentic Japanese food in Japan including the sushi/sashimi places in Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo. We didn’t say that the food were bad, but we really wonder what’s so special about them. For these prices, I wouldn’t even want to say these all were worth the money we spent.
Since the restaurant itself is located on the third floor of the building, there is also a supermarket on the first floor selling fresh meat and seafood, Japanese imported products and so on. Make sure to stop by before you come back home and buy one (or two) items here. Our favorites are the ice creams like we usually find in Japan and we were surprised to see those here!
To think that some people have gone to certain extent saying that Sushi Masa *is* the best Japanese restaurant in Jakarta seems a bit exaggerating for me. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I strongly disagree to that. Maybe if there is another opportunity, I will go back and try more dishes.
*The Food Escape team are not paid whatsoever for writing this post.
** This review is written based on our visit on 17 May 2015.
Jl. Tuna Raya No. 5
Grey Building 3rd Floor
Muara Baru Ujung
Pelabuhan Perikanan Samudera Nizam Zachman
North Jakarta 14440
Ph. +62 21 2926 3561
Lunch 11.30AM – 2PM
Dinner 6PM – 10PM
Weekend & Holiday:
Lunch 11AM – 3PM
Dinner 3.30PM – 10PM
CLOSED on Monday