Chris and I had to run some errands in St Paul and picked Brasa for brunch since we were headed that way. I’d been to the NE Minneapolis location, but a long time ago. When the weather is nice, the restaurant is filled with fresh air thanks to their garage doors, and they have patio seating. A huge plus for us is that they have a separate vegetarian/vegan menu. Amazing Thailand and Bulldog (multiple locations) are two others that I can think of off the top of my head who also have separate veg menus.
Brasa aims to serve food inspired by food from the South, the Caribbean and Mexico, and they use a lot of local products. You’ll find an excellent selection of sides, which when combined can make up a fantastic meal that allows for a lot of sharing.
Which is exactly what Chris and I did. There are five sides marked vegan, so we ordered one of each in a small size and it was the perfect amount of food for two. We weren’t sure about the portions, since they also offer a medium and large for the sides, but we figured we could easily order more if we wanted to!
Then came everything else in one fell swoop. We jumped right into the yuca fries with citrus and garlic aioli. I have to admit, I like Hola Arepa’s yuca fries ever so slightly more because they’re more light and fluffy, but Brasa honestly needs to bottle up the aioli and sell it. The texture is creamy and sticks nicely to the fries, and the garlic isn’t overpowering. I also recommend trying them with Brasa’s habanero vinegar.
The roasted yams taste like what you would expect them to – sweet and well-cooked – but they’re nothing out of the ordinary. Same with the yellow rice and black beans, but add a dollop of sriracha and you’ll have a party in your mouth.
Brasa doesn’t offer a vegan dessert, but the fried sweet plantains are more than acceptable. They weren’t too mushy and the small size was just enough for us to both get our sweet fix.
Sharing these sides was a fun way to enjoy a meal at Brasa. There was a vegan curry on the menu that we would have hit up next if the sides weren’t enough. I guess we’ll have to try that next time!
St Paul or NE Minneapolis