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. 

Heavy Table Hot Five: Feb. 6-12

hotfive-flames

Each Friday afternoon, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

Joshua Page / Heavy Table
Joshua Page / Heavy Table

1-new - oneMiso-Braised Pork and Ginger-Garlic Slaw from Sassy Spoon
The newly opened Sassy Spoon’s signature dish is a wonderful balance of rich, soulful pork and bright, fresh cabbage and greens. It’s very satisfying and surprisingly light — no carbs, no problem.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Joshua Page]

Crispy curried cauliflower, beluga lentils, sweet garlic, and chile sauce from Corner Table
Jane Rosemarin / Heavy Table

2-new - twoCrispy Curried Cauliflower from Corner Table
The curry-dusted cauliflower is crisp on the outside and tender, with a bite, on the inside. It sits on a disk of beluga lentils, which contribute their earthy goodness. A ring of brick-red sauce made from Korean kochukaru pepper, golden raisins, garlic, and vinegar provides a bright, sweet, hot, and smoky contrast. The sauce is topped with pickled mustard seeds that pop in your mouth. Micro cilantro adds a final visual and textural element. Dare we mention that the dish is vegan?
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Jane Rosemarin]

James Norton / Heavy Table
James Norton / Heavy Table

3-new - threeFennel Sausage Link from Black Sheep Pizza on Nicollet Ave
Black Sheep Pizza’s new location boasts a gorgeous grill operated by a bold metal wheel that brings food closer to or further away from the heat that pours up from below. We tried and loved the fennel sausage link starter — disarmingly light in texture and bright in flavor, but fire-charred and satisfying, complemented by pickled veggies and a scrap of bread.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table
James Norton / Heavy Table

4-new fourBarbecued Goat Tacos from La Huasteca
The Barbacoa de Chivo tacos at La Huasteca consist of big scoops of roasted goat with cilantro, onions, and chili sauce served on doubled-up corn tortillas with lime wedges on the side. In terms of quantity, the two tacos made for a solid $4 lunch. In terms of taste, the goat has the presence and emotional warmth of a pot roast — tender, rich, deeply flavored. This robust and comforting foundation is the perfect pedestal for bright notes of flavor like the acidic tang of lime juice, the crunch of fresh onions, and the heat of salsa. When you eat these tacos, you become happy.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #4 | Reviewed by James Norton]

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table
Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveCoconut Soup and Panang Curry with Fried Tofu at Thai Cafe
Another cold week equals more comfort food cravings! This time we stopped at Thai Cafe in Little Mekong to delight our bodies and souls with a spicy coconut soup and a panang curry with fried tofu. We didn’t go wrong: the fresh-ground spices and herbs were right on. Delicious, affordable and perfect for a quick bite during a busy day.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Isabel Subtil]

A Burrito Bounty, the Salt Cellar, and More

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

How American Indians are embracing the “decolonized diet” (and yes, that means no fry bread.) ID the vandal or vandals of the World Street Kitchen catering van and earn free burritos for life. A look inside of the so-crazy-it’s-great Pizza Camp. A preview of St. Paul’s nearly 1/2-mile long dinner for 2,000. A brief look at Man Cave meats. A profile of Mike Hicks, garlic guru. How to make local wild plum ketchup and some details on forager/chef Alan Bergo of the soon-to-open Salt Cellar. The Sassy Spoon food truck is going bricks-and-mortar at the old 3 Tiers address.