The Salads at Black Sheep Pizza

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Your ordinary pizza parlor is not a good place to start when searching for a great salad, but Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza is not your ordinary pizza parlor. The recently opened Warehouse District hot spot boasts pizza with a beautiful crispy / chewy crust that recalls the East Coast’s finest, and its menu is confidently spare — there’s not much on it beyond pizza and salads.

The salads, in this kind of an environment, are easy to overlook. That’s a mistake. They taste garden fresh. Not TGI Friday’s, flavorless, soulless, crappy “garden fresh,” but actually recently picked from a real garden garden fresh, with zip and crackle and crispness and vital life in each bite. The farmers market salad (which varies in composition and price and tends to be about $8) is a great starter for two; each time I’ve ordered it, it’s been different and terrific.

Last week, it was thin slices of fennel, portabella mushrooms, parsley, lemon olive oil dressing, and a thin dusting of parmesan cheese. Sound unusual? It was. It was weird and beautifully calibrated, fresh both in a taste and conceptual manner. This somewhat crazy newfangled salad was an outlier even for Black Sheep, but was, at the same time, typical of their approach — a few complementary high quality ingredients that speak for themselves, not much in the way of dressing, and a kick to the face of flavor. In this case, the snap of the fennel was played up by the lemon oil, and complemented by the funkier, earthier embrace of the cheese and mushrooms.

So here’s the protip for ordering at Black Sheep: One 12-inch, topping-loading pizza per two people, and one salad as well, to get you started. You’ll come back with a check of about $12 a person and one of the best — if simplest — meals in town.

Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza
East Coast pizza in the Warehouse District, Minneapolis

600 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
612.342.2625
OWNERS / CHEF: Colleen Doran and Jordan Smith / Jordan Smith
HOURS:
Sun-Thu 4:30-10pm
Fri-Sat 4:30-11pm
BAR: Beer and Wine
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $10-15

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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6 Comments

  1. Agreed, I’d go as far as saying this is the best pizza joint in town.

  2. James-

    It does my heart good to read such a heartfelt praise of creative high-quality salads! This is enough to get me over there-I can’t tell you how happy I am NOT to hear about candied walnuts or craisins! Love from the Salad Queen

  3. Maggie 10/22/2009 Reply

    HAD to go there last night based on this write up. The farmer’s market salad was excellent! Roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, a basil vinaigrette, spinach… mmm! Loved the pizza too, especially the crust. I’ve realized in recent months that I’m a bit of a crust snob and this one fit the bill for me. Yum!

  4. Excellent pizza! Also appreciate the accomodating staff for bringing me a side of anchovies to add to my pieces of pizza.

    I would however urge anyone visiting not to leave without ordering their housemade ice cream sandwich. It’s plenty big to share and the best I’ve ever had.

  5. I must have been at the Black Sheep on an off night. I wasn’t impressed with anything. They didn’t even have ice tea when we went, though our very nice server said they hoped to carry it soon.

    Our salad was a meager affair, certainly nothing noteworthy about it, other than coming in an interesting bucket/bowl. It wasn’t enough to share. I’d take the Punch pizza any day.

    And our pizza, the Oyster Mushroom, Smoked Mozerella & Rosemary special was a bad order. The oven is so hot that the crust cooks well before the mushrooms, so they were essentially raw. And it was so dry I had to ask for olive oil to make it edible. I’d avoid it.

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  1. […] salads are basic — in contrast to the divine market salads at Black Sheep — but very solid for what they are. We enjoyed the Daily Greens ($7.50, below), a […]

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