MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When you’re craving sushi, nothing else will quite hit the spot.

WCCO viewers voted Masu Sushi & Robata in Northeast Minneapolis as the best place to get that rush of umami satisfaction to your tastebuds.

If you’re expecting ancient Japanese tradition, you’ll have to take your chopsticks somewhere else.

The hip restaurant feels like a trip to urban Tokyo, with bright Japanese art, pachinko machines and munny dolls.

But the star of the show is Chef A-san and his sushi.

“Our executive chef Katsuyuki A-san Yamamoto is one of the best in the business,” Masu corporate manager Greg Mueller said. “He drives lots of guests here. One of the favorite things guests love to do is just say, ‘A-san, make me a sushi.'”

In the sushi world, A-san is the man or, as his colleagues call him, “more of a sushi doctor.”

A doctor who, cutting sushi with surgeon-like precision, can help you with all your hunger pains.

“A lot of chefs look at the meat,” Mueller said. “A-san is down close to the meat and really taking his time with his knife.”

And he’s really known for his bar-side manner.

He’s “great with the guests, loves to interact with them and gets to know them,” Mueller said. “That’s what being a great sushi chef is, and we like to consider our guests part of the Masu family.”

There are Japanese icons, like Godzilla, that strike fear in the hearts of Americans., but sushi doesn’t have to be one of them.

“Oftentimes people are scared to try sushi,” Mueller said. “Tell us this is your first time having sushi, and we will start you off with something a little more friendly to you. As you develop a taste for it, we can go on a whole other end of the spectrum and get as creative as you want.”

Masu is a sustainable restaurant, so they only purchase seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that don’t endanger the fish or harm the environment.

Masu has a second location at the Mall of America.

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