Cheap Eats: Brasa
Check out Brasa on University Ave. for tasty Peruvian rotisserie chicken takeout.
Photo by Andrew C. // Yelp.com
Chris and Veronica Laramie built up a dedicated following at their Eve restaurant, which opened in downtown Berkeley in late 2009. But when the “neo-artisanal American” concept proved a little too high-maintenance, the husband-and-wife chef duo turned the tiny space on University Avenue into a more casual, takeout–focused Peruvian rotisserie chicken joint. Brasa opened earlier this year, and with Veronica able to tap into her Peruvian upbringing, the results are no less delectable.
The star of the show is the tender Mary’s organic chicken, which comes robustly herbed with a couple of side sauces. The creamy, spicy aji amarillo sauce was a particularly nice complement to the savory chicken. A whole chicken ($21.75) comes with two large sides, the half ($13.75) with two small sides, and the quarter ($8.75) with one small side. (Our favorite was the baked sweet potato fries.) There are also rice bowls and sandwiches, plus a few fun surprises on the streamlined menu.
Beyond Chicken: The lomo saltado—marinated hanger steak with rice, sautéed red onion, tomato, lettuce, parsley, fries, and soy sauce—is awesome ($8 for rice bowl and $8.25 on a sandwich).
Walk on the Wilder Side: Beef heart you ask, skeptically? Trust us, the anticuchos beef heart skewers ($6.50) served with fries and a spicy aji panca sauce is a chewy-but-tasty treat.
Drink up: There’s wine and beer on tap, Peruvian bottled beer, and Mexican Coke, and don’t miss the chicha morada, a delicious Peruvian specialty made from purple corn.
Brasa, 1960 University Ave., Berkeley, (510) 868-0735, brasajoint.com. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat.