Everybody likes the idea of eating locally and sustainably, but the rap against organic-sustainable local restaurants like Roberts’ Restaurant Alma is, we are not going to save the planet by eating that way if most people can’t afford $25 entrees.
Brasa Premium Rotisserie, 600 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.
At Rotisserie Brasa, in a former gas station remodeled (with help from Shea Architects) to look like a Caribbean chicken shack, Roberts applies the same planet-friendly approach at a much lower price point. Only two meats are offered: marinated rotisserie chicken, and a slow-roasted glazed pork shoulder. The chicken (from Kadejan Farms in Glenwood) is moist and juicy, but the real star is the fork-tender and succulent roast pork (from Six Point Berkshire Pork Cooperative in Cottonwood). Individual dinners cost $11 for a smaller portion of roast pork or a quarter chicken, or $13.50 for a half chicken or a larger portion of pork. (larger portions for sharing are also available.)
Roberts has Louisiana roots, and the basic menu structure is a variation on the Southern tradition of meat-and-three: the price includes a choice of two side dishes from a list that includes collard greens, sweet plantains, yellow corn grits with cheddar, rice and pigeon peas with locally smoked ham, and several more. I grew up on a lot of this kind of cooking in Little Rock and New Orleans, and Roberts’ rendition of the sides is about as good as it gets: the corn grits with sharp cheddar is creamy and rich, and the sweet potatoes with andouille sausage are the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
A limited list of wines and beers are available.