Ambiance At Masumi Ripon
Though this is my first time reviewing Masumi, it's not the first time I've been here. This is my girlfriend's favorite sushi place we've tried so far (more on this below), and I like it as well. One of the most distinguishing features of this local restaurant is the very cute atmosphere. It's a great place to bring dates, or just to enjoy your night out without solely focusing on the food. We liked XMatsu Sushin in Manteca too, but Masumi does even better by having a larger restaurant, and a bigger bar area.
The decorations tastefully highlight the culture of Japan, without being too invasive or gaudy, and create a cozy, friendly dining experience. Right I walked in the first time, before I even ate I thought to myself, “Oh we should definitely come back!”
Even after waiting for over an hour during a very busy holiday Friday, we were still exited to return a few weeks later.
Arriving & Ordering At Masumi
You won't have to worry about parking – they are located right next to a shopping center, so there's plenty of spaces available despite Masumi being busy just about every time we've been there. Granted, we tend to show up Friday night around dinner time, but busy Fridays are not the case for all sushi restaurants in this area!
There's a good number of folks just doing takeout, but don't be surprised if there's a line and a 15 minute wait if you show up during high traffic times. I recommend booking ahead!
A simple, but tasty start, I was a big fan of the miso soup. I like miso soup in general, but it's worth mentioning Masumi starts dinner off right. Their salad is also decent, which is a huge change from the nasty, chunky salad mess that's usually served.
I was extra hungry this night, so I decided to venture out and order a new appetizer, the tuna ceviche. There was less tuna than I expected, and it was less acidic than planned, but it was still good enough to finish off. The “chips” were interesting. I don't know what they were made of – some kind of fluffy, deep fried dough. I had to scoop the ceviche onto each chip because they were not designed for dipping, but overall, I recommend this appetizer.
After seeing the table next to us order some tea, we were suddenly thirst as well. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the flavor of roasted rice in genmaicha. It was a little weak in this batch (I like strong flavors), but good enough to send me back to my days in Prague where I used to hang out at Japanese teahouses studying Czech.
I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the timing of the appetizers and dishes went well. Though we ordered all our food at the same time, we had some time to enjoy each dish. First the tea, then the appetizers, then the main courses. I hate when all the food comes at once and you (at least I do) end up plowing through it without enjoying it.
So in reference to my comment above about why my girlfriend loves this place – the shrimp fried rice. First, they mix veggies into the fried rice, which (to her) is a step up from the normal egg fried rice (I prefer just eggs with nothing else). Secondly, they use large shrimp, rather than the smallest possible ones they could find. Big, juicy chunks of fresh shrimp are why she loves this dish so much.
What about the sushi and nigiri? It was good enough for me. There's wasn't a whole long to distinguish it from other than being as expected, which is not too bad for the Central Valley area. It's not something that would drag me back here though, especially since they didn't have much of a selection in terms of specials, or unique items. It was all pretty standard fare.
I did order the toro (fatty tuna), and as a little disappointed. When I had this at another restaurant in Modesto (not reviewed yet), it had thick strips of fat, almost like salmon. I'm a fan of fatty flavors, so now seek out this type of fish when we go out. The toro here was not as fatty, though it was tasty!
How Was The Service?
Everyone at Masumi is always friendly, and service is fast. Though they are usually quite busy, everything seems to function well, and food is served quickly.
Masumi is a worth a drive for date night or for having a couple of saki bottles with your buddies. It's an all around solid sushi restaurant, that's deserving of the crowds that flock there.