*Disclaimer: I realize this doesn’t do any of you folks outside of the Twin Cities any good, but I’m working with a friend on starting up a second food oriented blog so you folks get to be guinea pigs for my first restaurant blog, Regular blog programming will return shortly but in the meantime enjoy and if you’re in the area hopefully you’ll find it helpful. If you have any feedback please leave a comment as again this is my first go round*
I live in Northeast Minneapolis and as someone who lives alone I’m constantly looking for new takeout places. Currently we’ve got some great options from unique fast food like Chipotle and White Castle, to deli options like Lund’s and Surdyk’s, to two Neapolitan pizza places (Punch and Pizza Nea). However I’m a greedy guy and I want more, specifically more gourmet options. So it was great excitement that I went with a friend last night to Brasa Rotisserie on 600 E. Hennepin Ave.
Once we sat ourselves inside the warm golden interior of the former car garage, both the menu and our server informed us of the concept upon which the restaurant is based. To quote, “Our Menu is inspired by the diverse and wholesome home cooking found throughout North America, the Caribbean, and South America.” Chef Alex Roberts of the renowned Restaurant Alma has crafted a simple menu that offers the diner a chance to mismatch various sides with two meat options. In the interest of fairness my friend ordered the rotisserie chicken and I the slow roasted pork shoulder. Both meats are raised organically and as the menu points out, all the ingredients are produced locally. We both ordered the small individual plates, a fair bargain at $11 for a meat, two sides, and a cabbage salad.
First the good news, this is some of the best pork I’ve had this year. The meat melts in your mouth and has a mild Latin flavor to it that permeates the meat. My companion found the meat a bit fatty but still enjoyed it quite a bit. For my sides I chose the grits with cheddar cheese and some fried yuca. The grits were good but congealed on the plate quickly. The yuca was a pleasant surprise as the fried root had a quality that can best be described as an aerated French fry. My companion’s chicken was…well…chicken. It was moist and well cooked but the flavorful skin did not translate to flavorful meat and the quarter chicken was more work then it was worth. Along with the grits my friend ordered the collared greens which brought me back to the best southern cooking I’ve experienced in my life. Next to the pork this was the finest aspect of the meal I sampled as the greens strong flavor was cooked to perfection without letting the bitter flavor dominate. There were 8 other side dishes ranging from black eyed peas with bacon, to sweet plantains, to pickled veggies, so the number of combinations seems endless however this is where I think Brasa fails. While the South American and Caribbean flavors are well represented the North American menu is strictly limited to southern cooking. My friend thought an interesting mashed potato would fit the menu while I thought a mac and cheese would fit perfectly. Getting away from the US even, I would have loved to see an option to order a couple of tortillas in which to place my pork and the delightful cabbage salad. In short, I wanted more from the menu then I was given. What I had was good but not in a manner that will demand a high volume of repeat business and while they offer many different family and individual take out options I really can’t imagine ever stopping there for a quick take out meal.
Best Item: Slow roasted pork shoulder that is both flavorful and moist.
Worst Item: Rotisserie Chicken that while well cooked lacked any flavor once you got beyond the skin.
Service: Fast and quick although my plate quickly went back into the kitchen when it emerged with chicken and not pork. Thankfully when you only have two choices it was a quick switchover.
Prices: $11-13.50 for individual plates with two sides. $5-$14 for family sized servings of meats and sides separately.
Booze: Wines by the glass for $7. Beer by the bottle for $4.