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Brasa Dinner Specials have started

Mon: smoked wings
Tue: garlic prawns
Wed: shrimp & fish mocqueca (stew)
Thu: chicken & shrimp etoufee
Fri: spare ribs
Sat: roast beef
Sun (stp): beef & pork hot links
Sun (msp): bbq pork belly

I haven't tried them yet. Next week I'm going for the ribs. I was there for lunch today and got to take a peek at the smoker at the Minneapolis location. It's a commercial smoker and they're using oak.

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  1. We tried the mocqueca at the Mpls location on Wednesday and it was awesome. But be warned, I got the last order and it was only 8 or so.

    1. Had the hot links in St. Paul a week or two ago. They were very tasty, as one would expect.... can't wait to try the spare ribs.

      1. They have chicken & shrimp etoufee. I love that stuff. I've known of this place for a while, but I've never tried it. Is it really good? because those are some bold dishes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alpa chino

          ahem. Well, Brasa is only one of my very favorite restaurants and we only go oh at least once a week (someone else on chowhound mentioned that Brasa should just have direct access to their bank account and that's how it is for us, really). So, yeah, we happen to think it is really good!

          On the topic of specials, I've had the Tuesday special: prawns. Whole prawns, done in a very light garlic sauce. Tasty. Not cheap AT ALL (I believe $12.50 for 6 prawns; you can also get 12 prawns), but at least they are big prawns.

          1. re: alpa chino

            Brasa is a gem. If you've never been, you should really give it a shot.

            The etoufee might just draw me in as well.

            1. re: alpa chino

              Alma used to have a shrimp/crawfish etoufee on the menu several years ago and it was spectacular. I hope Alex channeled that dish into this one as I loved it at Alma.

            2. I don't understand this place. Is it latin, creole, or something else? It's hard to tell from the menu. Nonetheless, I'll take that etoufee and that brazilian stew this week. I'm looking forward to it. I hope they let me take those out.

              4 Replies
              1. re: alpa chino

                From the website: "Brasa serves comfort food inspired by the creole cooking traditions of the Americas and Caribbean."

                1. re: alpa chino

                  I always think of it as Southern-Latin American-Carribbean cooking. I guess that's creole. But what do I know, I grew up in Southern California. Never had grits or creamed spinach, collard greens, plantains or yuca until I was well into my 20s. We ate lots of rice and beans though and I definitely recognized those at Brasa. And oh! the Mexican sodas! Way better than American versions.

                  1. re: alpa chino

                    "Is it latin, creole, or something else?"

                    Yes.

                    Categorizing it wouldn't really make the food any better, so why bother (not to mention "creole" could incorporate just about anything).

                    1. re: alpa chino

                      It's top notch ingredients. It's designed by one of the twin cities top chefs. It's prepared by dedicated professionals. And it's kinda southern and not too fancy.

                      I really like the place, but I don't really like every dishes on offer.

                      I really love the:
                      collard greens - smoked turkey is cool.
                      black-eyed peas - really nice earthy flavor and very good texture

                    2. Okay, so I checked it out and I had the Thursday special of shrimp & chicken etouffee. It wasn't bad. It didn't taste like it came out of a can, and it didn't taste like the etouffee I had in Nawlins 4 years ago (that I dream about sometimes). It had good flavor and the ingredients were fresh. It was rather light in color, compared to the traditional darker red/brown etoufee.

                      The food over there seems very fresh and interesting. It really can't be compared to other restaurants, I like that uniqueness. And, I also had the collard greens with smoked turkey. That was good too. I love collard greens, so it would have been difficult to disappoint on that one. But they do serve the leaves dry---No pot liquor juice.

                      Definitely worth another trip. Thumbs up to Brasa

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: alpa chino

                        I had the ribs friday. They were very good. The meat was the texture I prefer, somewhat chewy, not falling off the bone, yet not tough. Just right. They are served dry with sauce on the side. I didn't think much of the sauce. They are definitely smoked. And I like that too. I'd like a little more seasoning in a rub prior to cooking and a more strongly flavored sauce. I'd get these ribs again. In fact, they may be my favorite ribs in this town, definitely better than Q-Fanatic (but Q's sauce is better) and just slightly better than Big Daddy's.

                        Also, these ribs are spare ribs, but the order I got was similar in size to baby back ribs. They were straight-boned like spare ribs, not curved like baby backs. I guess this means they were from smaller hogs, which might make them tastier, might not. I dunno. But I liked them and recommend them to everyone who likes good que.

                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                          Rib report from this Friday-- DEAR LORD, THOSE RIBS ARE HUGE. Bear this in mind if you are deciding between the half rack and full rack. I gather that the ribs vary a bit from week to week (local sourcing=small farms=some variability in product and all that), but this week's were so big, so meaty, that a full rack being eaten by one person is almost beyond my imagination. I concur that the sauce is nothing special. But the ribs were quite good-- they tasted quite strongly of smoke, had good texture, overall a very good rib experience (and I consider myself to have high rib standards, having had my first order of dry rubbed ribs at the source, the Rendezvous in Memphis). Definitely recommended.

                        2. re: alpa chino

                          I was also there for dinner last thursday and I concur with your assessment on the etouffee. They use fresh seafood so no need to mask freezer burn by overspicing. The heat was apparent, but not too forward and mostly lingered in the background. The sauce was appropriately thick with a stew/gravy-like consistency. Brasa's take on it is a good one.

                          Etouffees are typically associated with that dark red/brown color, which makes sense since it's the most common style you'll encounter. But, as far as I know, there is no definitive single or "traditional" way to make etouffee and there's many variations. Just to name a few, it ranges from blonde/light caramel to a darker red-brown colored sauce, some recipes add allspice, and some use tomato paste to give it color. Part of me does wonder if Brasa's used cream, but I've never taken the time to ask servers specific questions about dishes there.

                          1. re: air

                            I'd always been under the impression that the color of etouffee came directly from how dark one let the roux become (I believe this came from an episode of "Good Eats").

                            I know the color of the etouffee at Alma was rather light in comparison to what I'd had in New Iberia, but outstanding none-the-less. Sounds like Brasa's is similar which is a good thing in my book.

                            1. re: Foureyes137

                              Yeah I agree that the color is primarily influenced by how dark the roux is allowed to become, but to clarify, tomato paste can help add to the dark red/brown effect if opting to cook a no roux etouffee.

                              ie, debate on roux vs no roux (and other breakdowns too!)
                              http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

                              I'm far from being a cajun/creole expert though, just pointing out observations from having seen other discussions about this cuisine, which is inevitable if you live in Texas.