Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Back in early 2013, we visited Masak, a Singaporean (influenced) restaurant down in the East Village. Sadly, a few weeks after our visit, they closed. When a restaurant has closed up and we have a draft post still languishing in our list, we'll often decide to abandon the review altogether, but (1) this would count for Singapore WorldEats and (2) sadly there isn't any Singaporean food in NYC right now that we know of (since Singapura, the only other place, closed later that same year). Since our Masak post was partially done back in 2013 (we really need to get better about completing them...), we're going to finish it up and dream about some delicious chili crab dip.

We really loved the food on our only visit to Singapore over 5 years before our Masak visit and had wanted to try Masak for a bit, so when we saw a voucher offered online for them, we jumped at the chance. With so many restaurants to try in NYC, it's hard to make it to everywhere we want to go, so in some ways, we used the voucher to give us a little bit of a push there. Our voucher gave us 2 appetizers and 2 entrees for a set price ($39), and we could order anything on the menu without restriction (which was really liberating, compared to some other places).

The one appetizer we knew we were getting before we got to the restaurant was the chili crab dip, which was accompanied by fried mantou.

We had chili crab back in Singapore and years later, we still think about how good it was. The subtle sweetness of the crab and tomato-based sauce mixed with a very mild hint of heat makes chili crab so special, and it's such a delicacy in Singapore. The chili crab dip here really captured the essence of chili crab using only the crab meat itself and not whole pieces of crab. The fried mantou that came with it added even more sweetness and a light crispness as well. Masak's offering wasn't quite as good as the one we had in Singapore, but it was still quite delicious.

There was still a lot of dip so we got more mantou. That stuff was so filling, but so good. If only there were a place to get mantou now...

For the second appetizer, we chose rock shrimp tempura with spicy aioli. When M hears rock shrimp tempura, the dish that comes to mind is usually the one from Nobu. Crispy fried shrimp coated in a spicy mayo sauce. This rock shrimp tempura was fairly similar in style. It was good, from what we remember.

For the entree course, M got the devil chicken which came with fried fingerling potatoes and a small side of kale. The chicken was cooked well, and the vegetable sides were good, but outside of the sauce, which did have Asian notes to it, nothing about this dish really screamed Singaporean to M. It looked like something you could get at any bistro. From what we remember, it was tasty, but the thing we remember most about this meal wasn't the chicken.

A went with the babi assam tamarind braised pork belly with fried black rice. It's been a couple of years, so we really don't remember very much about this. Clearly, the entrees did not make much of an impression on us.

We were too full for dessert, so even though the tang yuan dumplings sounded interesting, we had to pass. We really enjoyed our meal there and would have considered going back, so we were sad when we read the news that they had closed. Considering how great Singaporean food is, why can't we get a lasting Singaporean restaurant out here?!

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