Mason's serves up boozy beer and brats

The new Hennepin Avenue hotspot does a mean pre-game without the crazy price points

Mason's head chef, Andrew Ernst, started out at Bryant-Lake Bowl and Red Stag Supper Club, training that's served him well in this environment. You can see little relics from his time at Kim Bartmann's restaurants from the crispy fried fish, beet, and arugula salad and breadcrumb-topped mature mac-and-cheese, but it seems he is putting the grill at the core of Mason's kitchen. Hereford beef burgers on lofty, lovely buns from New French bakery are finished with things such as spicy pickled peppers, crispy fried onions, and their own kinda-sorta Asian barbecue sauce that's a little gingery and a little citrusy. Big meaty Italian sausages and brats get matched with glossy pretzel rolls or poppy seed buns. You can opt to dress them up with mustard, cheese, pulled pork (yes, a Cuban dog), or housemade Coney sauce that's somewhere between no-bean chili and a thinned-out Sloppy Joe filling.

It's not ground-shaking, but Mason's is serving a huge array of customers at all times of day and seeming to do so with great success. During all visits we were comfortable, taken care of, and never had to shove past anyone to get to the bar, even during the pre-game hour. Just like the building that houses it, Mason's strength comes from its solid foundation. It's the little piggy that built his house with bricks ... and then became delicious pork osso buco.

Benjamin Carter Grimes

Don't forget to check out all the photos from Mason's...

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