Alex Roberts, award winning chef and owner of the much loved Restaurant Alma, opened his new restaurant, Brasa, last week without much fanfare but plenty of business. I showed up on the second day of business around 5:30 and the place was bustling. Housed in the former Betty's Bikes and Buns on Hennepin where it converges with Central, Brasa is small but very airy due to the two garage doors that open up onto a nice patio. When I arrived Alex was busy putting together patio tables. He no more than got one put together before two people sat down at it.
Brasa is a much more casual affair than Alma. As stated on the front of the menu, "Our menu is inspired by the diverse and wholesome home cooking found throughout North America, the Caribbean and South e supply our kitchen with local naturally raised free range meats, organic produce, fair trade and sustainable agriculture minded products." Right on! You basically have a choice between Marinated and Spice Rubbed Rotisserie Chicken (from local producers Kadejan) and Slow Roasted Glazed Pork Shoulder (from Berkshire Pork Coop) and a dozen sides. I opted for the 1/4 Rotisserie Chicken Plate with a side of Crispy Fried Yuca and a side of Black Eyed Peas and Local Berkshire Bacon and it was fantastic. The real way to experience this place, and Alex agreed, is to bring a group and order family style, sampling a little of everything. There is also a nice list of wines and beers available.
Of course the best thing about Brasa is that it's in my neighborhood. And no matter where I am going, my commute almost always takes me a block away from Brasa. That area is turning into quite the hub, already boasting a handful of great restaurants. With the addition of Brasa and opening soon Red Stag, it's hard not to caught up in the isn't-Northeast-cool mentality.
Rick Nelson had a small blurb about Brasa in the Stib today. Check out Brasa before the crowds swamp the place (:
Open Monday - Saturday, 11am - 11pm. Closed Sunday.
600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414, 612-379-3030