When Mikey Reisenberg opened his food truck, Mashita, in 2013, people went NUTS. I remember it well — seemingly everyone I knew was raving about this giant grey bus/truck thing slinging Korean food on East Market Street. And then it started showing up at breweries, and people flocked to it like children to an ice cream truck in the Mojave. In July. At noon. People lined up three deep, standing on their tiptoes, trying to catch a glimpse of the holy magic going on in there. It wasn’t long before Mashita started catering and quite frankly, for a while there, if the event I was attending was not catered by Mashita, I was kinda like, “Pffffft. Meh.” No offense, everyone else.
It’s a new era of Korean-inspired joy, squealing, and jumping up and down: Mashita has graduated to a brick-and-mortar location. You can still get the steamed buns, lettuce wraps, bulgogi, and kimchi we’ve been gorging on for years, but there is so much to love about the new place. Instead of standing outside the truck in the rain/snow/sleet/wind (we’ve all done it) to place your order, and then either sitting in the filth of your disgusting car or in your uninspired work cubicle to eat it, you’ll love the warmth and comfort of the new space.
You’ll love the tables handcrafted by Mikey himself from Black Forest Sawmill wood. You’ve love the light that floods the space, nourishing the adorable succulents from Port Farm. You’ll love the local art hanging on the walls and the huge mural painted by Mike Arellano. You’ll love the low-waste initiatives, like real plates and glasses and stainless steel chopsticks. You’ll even love the bathroom, outfitted with lotion and other comforts. Lord, all this place needs is napping quarters.
But let’s get to why we all already love Mashita: the food. You know the expression, “Eat with your eyes” ? Mikey, sous chef Kevin, and kitchen manager Spencer will serve you art on a plate. Pictured below you’ll see gnocchi with a mushroom sauce, kimchi mac & cheese balls, and pork belly with grits — three specials from the day we visited.
On top of that, we ordered the steamed buns with braised pork, the Korean-style burrito with chicken bulgogi, and the Mashita Bibimbap with chicken, done up all pretty with a fried egg bow on top. For each of those dishes, you can choose from several protein options. And the menu has much, much more. I just need to pause here and recall how incredibly fresh our food was that day.
Top it off with several savory sauces, wash it down with local and regional beer or sake, and complete your meal with fried apple bao rounds or another fabulous, freshly made dessert.
But don’t worry — for all you sentimental types, the truck is alive and well! They still use it for catering, special events, and festivals. Visit Mashita at 105 North Liberty Street, Tuesday – Saturday, 11 – 9pm. And quick, make a reservation for a 5-course pairing dinner with 3 Notch’d Valley Collab House on Valentine’s Day!
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