Sassy Spoon in Nokomis, Minneapolis

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table
Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Tucked into a short strip of shops in the Nokomis neighborhood of Minneapolis, Sassy Spoon is a little hard to find. But once you enter, noticing large bright spoons painted on the wall, getting a warm welcome from the staff, and hearing blues coming from the speakers, you know you’re in the right place. Like its former incarnation as a food truck, Sassy Spoon is equal parts youthful exuberance and old soul. In another commonality, the stationary eatery is a winner.  

Owner Tamara Brown permanently parked her food truck and opened the restaurant this past February in the space formerly occupied by 3 Tiers. Brown, a holistic dietician, serves up gluten-free fare featuring complex carbohydrates and lean, locally sourced, sustainable meats. Brown is on a mission to show that healthful, wholesome food can boast big, bold flavors and leave customers happy and full.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table
Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

In general, Brown and her staff are making good on that promise. Sassy’s signature dish — Miso-Braised Pork ($13) — sounds heavy, but rises above. The pork (above) is tender, slightly sweet, savory, and not the least bit fatty. With vinegary slaw and fresh greens, the dish is impeccably balanced and deeply satisfying. The same is true of Southern-tinged Spiced Braised Beef ($16) served with expertly prepared bitter greens. A generous accompaniment of pickled ginger ties the dish together and gives it a funky kick.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table
Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

We’re also fans of Sassy’s Thai-style chicken curry ($14) heaped atop “cauliflower fried rice.” Frankly, we were skeptical of the rice substitute, but the finely chopped and semi-firm cauliflower added texture and depth of flavor. We’re sold. Plus, the chicken was succulent, and the red curry was appropriately sweet and spicy.