I have always been a fan of the South End's Masa for spicy cocktails and margaritas, tasty southwestern inspired food, and their fantastic brunch.
Last Saturday I paid my first visit to their recently revamped Woburn counterpart, Masa Taquieria & Tequila Bar (formerly Masa Southwest Bar & Grill). They've updated their menu, decor, and website - all that's left seems to be the outdoor signage. The interior transports diners from a typical suburban strip mall to somewhere much more sophisticated; yet the vibe still remains casual and relaxed. Comfy chocolate leather booths meet white exposed brick walls which are home to a large collection of colorful Mexican posters - notably retro travel adds, accented by rainbow painted wainscoting. Zorro chandeliers and punched metal Southwestern light sconces envelope the space in a warm glow.
They have some new interactive touches - a Hola! sign you can clip into a memo stand if you need the waitress's attention and a mini index card of the menu to select your food.
A tres chile margarita ($11.50) was in order first. The jalepeno infused blanco tequila + anaheim + poblanos (the thres chiles!) brought a fantastic heat. This marg was a perfect pairing with creamy guacamole (small/$5) where large slices of ripe avocado are laced with red onions, garlic + lime and served with high quality tortilla chips.
They have a large selection of tequilas, plus tequila flights and a few mezcals, although we stuck to cocktails this evening. The high noon ($10.5) with high west bourbon, lemon, luxardo, and domaine de canton was good - definitely on the sweeter side. The habanero watermelon margarita ($12) was a favorite I recognized from the South End's menu; habanero infused resposado tequila, triple sec and watermelon puree are a winning combination. (I even replicated this at home for a fourth of july party one year - a big hit!)
Off the specials menu, Bob enjoyed the Grilled Swordfish over sauteed kale and butternut squash polenta. It was juicy and tender, a well executed piece of fish. I was excited about my Small Taco Combo ($26) which included six tacos, one tamale, rice, beans and grilled mexican corn. The tacos are miniature - two or three bites worth and are also offered individually for $2.75 - $3.75. I ordered: chorizo with cranberry salsa, portobello mushroom with cotija cheese, charred shrimp with sweet pepper slaw, slow cooked chicken with roasted tomato salsa, crispy cod fish with garlic aoili and carne asada with pico de gallo. I honestly don't think they can make a bad taco! And I loved the opportunity for variety. The rice and beans were surprisingly lackluster - bland and the texture was off. I liked the corn tamale and the street corn though, so overall the taco combo was solid.
The churros ($7) shaped to resemble thick, heavy crullers, were deceiving! Not to worry, the first bite revealed a light and airy, ever so slightly crisp and piping hot churro, alongside a rich, warm, bittersweet chocolate sauce for dipping. For dessert, these are a no-brainer.
Masa Taqueria + Tequila Bar
Woburn Plaza Shopping Center
Woburn Plaza Shopping Center
350 Cambridge Rd.
Woburn, MA 01801
*this meal was complimentary, all opinions are my own