Before experiencing valet acceptance at Masraff’s, um, car status is key. Keep on driving if your worthiness is less than average. These guys don’t have time to park a Honda people. Really, just find a spot, all on your own… and casually move on with your life. Please & Thanks.
Once parking success is achieved, make your way past the hostess to enter a shiny bar comparable to colors one might find in a bag of… skittles. Glance past the waving 94 year old oil tycoon at the other end of the bar, if only for a moment, and your eyes will meet a fireplace… ten feet up in the air!
To ensure a successful sashay, take into account the explosion of suits gathered around this business savvy… bar. Men so important, there is no alternative other than to soak in their success after such a long day in the board room. The onslaught of executives produces a profound sensation of Fortune 500ness. Do not even belly up to this bar without a “C” in some part of your title… CEO or CFO will suffice.
Tony Masraff’s son, Russell, has taken charge at the new jazzed up location on Post Oak Boulevard. Having been around for 12 years, Masraff’s has been at the new location for only one. This move was provoked by none other than a grotesquely greedy landlord on a mission to increase the rent by 50%. Should we feel sorry for the Masraffs, whose name alone demands front and center attention from all commoners within ear or eye shot? Maybe.
The move became imminent when the Post Oak location presented itself. Russell explained, the restaurant was off the beaten path a bit, so as opportunity presented itself, they took advantage of it. All that was brought to the new location was the staff, as well as the desire to create high quality food. Although Russell feels the old Masraff’s got them where they are today, the location had lost its energy. Moving to Post Oak Boulevard was a chance to recreate that energy. Dad Masraff wasn’t fully convinced moving was the best idea, but decided to take a chance.
The decision to move opened a door for a dramatic change in décor. With the help of a design team, Russell decided to go with a much more modern slash contemporary feel. His goal was to have mega energy. An energy producing excitement… art, music, and everything else that comes with it. All involved were careful, taking into account the mistakes previously made.
Masraff’s incorporated multiple private rooms with section dividers, giving them the opportunity to change the size of the rooms, depending on the number of people. The patio has a waterfall, which drowns out the noise from the hustle & bustle of Post Oak Boulevard.
Fact: Russell Masraff is NOT messing around. He passionately stated that for food to be worthy of this restaurant, it must be of the highest quality. Executive chef Dominic Juarez does a tremendous amount of research to find the best products from around the world. From there, it is all about the… taste.
Ben Roberts, the director of marketing and wine sales slash… sommelier, keeps his wine list on an iPad. That’s right. Masraff’s theme is they do their best to give you the very best value, starting with a wine cellar filled with some of the best Bordeaux in the world. Also, bartenders will soon spend some time in Austin training under one of the top mixologists in the country. Masraff is a firm believer that the end result tastes better when it takes longer.
The steak house portion of the bigeye tuna is herb seared with sunomono salad, wasabi potatoes, and sweet soy reduction. The tuna is not thinly sliced, oh no, and comes directly from Hawaii… via FedEx, as does all of their fish.
The calamari at Masraff’s is quite unique, being completely different than the always expected calamari rings with marinara. Chef Juarez created this dish in California, implementing a variety of Asian flavors. This intriguing calamari steak cut comes from Santa Monica, California.
The next appetizer to arrive is the poached wild shrimp & blue crab napoleon with mango avocado rice vinegar emulsion. My radio friend extraordinaire received an extra dish… foie gras. Yikes. Served pan-seared, the foie gras is accompanied with caramelized poached pears and port wine glaze. The foie gras, gulp, as an entrée is a bit different… Peking duck breast, foie gras, apple bacon, and sweet potato hash with a bing cherries gastrique.
The wild mushroom ravioli with truffle oil & lemon sage is an excellent starter. I didn’t get a chance to try the chef’s daily risotto, which is on my list for future visits. For those finding crab cakes appetizing… snore… Masraff’s is served with aioli and citrus beurre blanc with red wine reduction.
Heirloom tomatoes with arugula are tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette with crumbled blue cheese. On the edge is pesto and balsamic reduction with a crispy slice of bacon. I asked for… no bacon.
The garlic charred swordfish is served scrumptiously over creamed spinach polenta with Catalan romesco sauce & yellow beets. For the always at the table carnivore crashing your party, there is the paella risotto with diver scallop, prawns, rock shrimp & Texas dry sausage stewed in saffron stock with carnarolli rice.
Second only to the calamari is the… New Zealand blue nose sea bass served in citrus crust with sautéed green beans, Yukon potato puree, and maple infused beurre blanc.
The molten chocolate eruption with vanilla ice cream is just one glorious dessert. The list is short, but quite dazzling indeed. Tony’s own fried banana split is a winner. There is also the fried Granny Smith apple pie with vanilla ice cream & caramel. The last dessert is the hot mini doughnuts with cinnamon & sugar… cooked to order! Stop it!
While I was devouring the butter roasted pear crème brulee & whole berry sauce, executive chef Juarez began to process my request to take his… picture. Suddenly, he spoke the unthinkable… “You should be in the picture as well.”
Stop the press!
As I silently stood by his side, his crispy white executive chef coat softly smooshed against the black Versace dress my ex boyfriend with a double life bought last year in Vegas. Oh yes, picture perfection at its very best. Let us not bypass mention of his right hand using approximately four chef hand muscles to ever so slightly clinch my… waist.
Moving right along…
The opportunity to tag along while John DeMers conducted interviews for his radio show definitely brought forth serious excitement. As for the food, the taste is ideally fresh. I enjoyed the twist in flavors chef Juarez used in preparing the calamari appetizer. Though the stuffy clientele are mildly painful, I would definitely return for the calamari.
Russell & his Dad take pride in receiving feedback from their customers. Their job is to speak to as many customers as they possibly can and simply ask questions. Masraff’s makes changes to the menu as necessary because… “We aren’t here for ourselves. We are here for the people in the dining room.”
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch