We got to Brasa around 6 on Friday night. I didn't realize that they had outdoor seating and the patio looked really nice, but it also looked like it could start raining at any moment, so we put our names on the list for an indoor table.
As we waited I was amazed at the incredible smell of Brasa; it's a small place and they cook the food in view of the dining area so the aromas travel easily throughout the room, and the food smelled great! The whole restaurant had a warm, down-home smell to it, and it was very warm too, that made the smells that much more intense.
We waited 15 - 20 minutes for a table, all while enjoying the smells and hoping it would start raining on the people on the patio, alas it never did :(
I was intrigued by the "Mexican coca cola" on the menu, but ordered an iced tea instead, although the server brought me a lemonade when he finally came back, whatever, they both had free refills. Rett told me later that the Mexican coca cola is actually Coke from Mexico, which is sweeter than the Coke we get here (sugar vs. corn syrup he said).
The "plates for one" looked like a good deal as you picked a piece of meat and then also got to select two sides, for $11-$14 depending on the meat. I went with the braised beef, with sides of potato salad (the special that night), and yams with sausage. I don't care for yams but I thought I might like them better with spicy sausage.
Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of spicy sausage to go around, so it was mostly yams :( I still ate most of it, but I was really jealous of Erin's black beans with corn bread side. She only let me have a bite or two, but it was GOOD.
The potato salad tasted very fresh, but was a little bland, I would've liked to have had some salt and pepper to season it up a bit, which wasn't on the table. The braised beef with some potato salad together was excellent. The beef itself was very tender and delicious, it just fell apart so easily. At first I was a little concerned that there wouldn't be enough food, but I was perfectly full by the end, and I didn't even eat all my yams. Thus, I was not allowed dessert :)
- Service: Eh, our server was friendly but it took him awhile to get things for us.
- Food: Excellent food, the meat was fantastic and the potato salad was great. I can't fault them for the yams, I just don't like them.
- Drinks: Brasa has a couple tap beers and a couple bottled beers and some wine, I didn't look into it too much since I wasn't drinking, but definitely not a full bar.
- Ambiance: It was pretty loud the night we were there, but there was one table in particular to blame for that. Other than that the people are friendly and I like being able to see the cooks working, so its a nice place.
- Price: Prices were reasonable, especially considering that the food nearly all local/organic.
- Convenience: Brasa is on Hennepin, just off of Central north of downtown. There is a small parking lot and if that's full you ought to be able to find a place on the street. It's also on the bus line.
Late in the day at work last Friday, I was given some good news and decided it was worth celebrating. I quickly made the decision that Ben and I would be going out to eat that night, whether he wanted to or not. I consulted with Kate on a fun but not too expensive restaurant, and she suggested Brasa, which was perfect for the occasion.
We made our way over to Brasa from our downtown workplaces fairly quickly, and it was already packed, but the wait was manageable. Only 20 minutes on a Friday night for a very popular restaurant isn't bad at all.
I loved the atmosphere of Brasa, it was busy and bustling, and the decor was minimal but still interesting, very industrial looking with the garage doors open to the patio. It did get a little loud, and we could easily hear every word of our neighbors conversation (they were not loud at all) but this didn't bother me.
The beverage choices here will please pretty much anyone. As I'm sure every reader of this blog knows, I enjoy a good light beer, but I decided to try Bell's Oberon because it was on tap. I guess it probably technically is a light beer, but it's certainly heavier than my usual Miller Lite. I really liked this beer, surprisingly. I'd order it again, even if a lite beer was on tap. Maybe.
As for the food. I wanted to order a quarter of whatever meat (my preference would have been chicken) and 5 sides, but Ben did not think this would be enough food for the two of us. I think that it definitely would have been. As it was, I got the plate for one with chicken, black beans and cornbread, and a cheese and masa corn cake. The chicken was GREAT - it was nice and crispy and flavorful on the outside, juicy inside. Ben enjoyed the 2/3 that I did not eat as well. The black beans and cornbread were very good - I was a little jealous by all the full cornbreads that I saw passing me by, so I would have prefered that the beans and cornbread be separate, but whatever. The masa corn cake was tasty as well, and pretty spicy.
I saw some amazing desserts, and I really wanted to try the red velvet cake, but I was having the feeling that if I had even one more bite, something really bad would happen.... so I passed. Next time, I'm getting less for the main course and saving room for dessert!
600 E. Hennepin Ave
Highly recommended for a casual meal