Did you miss me? Don’t answer that. I can see from the collective eye roll that you most definitely have. Yes, friends, like a two-foot turd after a painful bout of constipation, I’m back. Here once again to regale you with that special blend of caustic nonsense and inane banter. And please, ignore those ridiculous rumors of booze-induced comas and gender bending exploration. That was a damn kilt.
Anyway, I’m sad to report that the rather long interlude since I last put together a post could hardly be described as constructive. That is, while my tolerance for all things mind altering is at an all time high, the same can’t be said of my vocational satisfaction. No, I remain disengaged and beat down at work, and I’m still obliged to glance upon Lewis’s sorry mug five days a week. Talk about hell to pay.
And so our ritual lives on, that carrot that gets us through the week. A press release announcing the opening of the new Brasa Rotisserie found its way to my inbox, and like that our Friday lunch destination was set. Brasa is the brainchild of Restaurant Alma chef Alex Roberts, serving “simple food of the Americas” in a far less formal setting than Alma.
I’ve been to Restaurant Alma once and the meal was fantastic. But friends, I’m a poor writer by trade and a raging boozehound to boot, so a wine-heavy meal at a place like Alma really does a number on my budget. Meals like that on anything more than a quarterly schedule would likely mean losing the house. No scallop is worth that.
So, the opportunity to eat Sir Roberts’ fare at a far more affordable price is something to get excited about. And as we made our way over to east Hennepin, that excitement was palpable. Sure, much of it emanated from our lurid descriptions of the delicious office intern and her fun bags. But some, too, was in anticipation of the rotisserie chicken to come.
Physically, this is a great restaurant. Large garage doors open to what will soon be outdoor seating, and on a beautiful day like today the interior bleeds seamlessly onto the patio. The menu is perfectly populated with the two big guns—chicken and pork—and a variety of southern sides like collard greens and sweet potatoes. Beers, too, are available, including, I spied, Sammy Smiths.
Lewis ordered the quarter chicken and I, glutton that I am, went with the half. For my two sides I chose the black-eyed peas and the creole potato salad. All was good. The chicken was moist, as you’d expect, and generous in size, with a roasted skin that alone sent my hangover packing. The potato salad, while not obviously “creole,” was tasty and the black-eyed peas were out of sight. Even the dollop of cole slaw was remarkable.
Now, this was a good deal of food, but frankly it had better be for $13.50. I feel duty-bound to point out that not too far from Brasa, a hungry lad in search of rotisserie chicken could visit the venerable Holy Land and grab a WHOLE one —complete with salad, rice, hummus and pitas—for a scant $7.99. (I’m not talking grocery store chicken here, folks, this is quality chow.) Of course, Holy Land is hardly a place you want to relax at on a beautiful summer day. Given Brasa’s ambience, the price is justified.
As for the 23-year-old virgin that played the part of our server: he’s lucky we didn’t brain him. It was discussed. To work in a restaurant, one needs a sense of urgency. Daydreamers need not apply. This guy was in a permanent thick fog, and it wasn’t from repeated trips to the walk-in cooler. He’s the kind of guy that would be far better suited to selling women’s lingerie. Or wearing it.
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, considering the place just opened. But service counts for a lot. I haven’t been back to Barley John’s—Barley John’s for chrissakes—in a few months thanks to an inept server that pissed me off on more than one occasion over there. Just be efficient, accurate and attentive. That’s all it takes.
Enough of that. Being a resident of Nordeast, I’m always thrilled to see new independent eateries open in the hood, and all the more so when they’re as unique and appealing as Brasa. I envision many a summer day devouring chicken and abusing my liver on that inviting patio. Let’s hope Roberts has more concepts up his sleeve.