“Can I tell you about the menu?” asked our server. “Nancy told us that she likes to order off the left side of the menu, so we’ve made a menu that’s entirely about the left side of the menu. Plus, pizza.”
Welcome to Snack Bar, home of the small plate — plus, pizza. It’s the fourth member of the family of restaurants operated by spouses Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre, and it quietly opened on Sunday night.
They’re the couple behind 112 Eatery, Burch Restaurant and Bar La Grassa. Snack Bar, located in the former home of Be’wiched Deli, shares a lobby with Bar La Grassa, and could be considered a waiting room for that wildly popular nine-year-old pasta palace.
But it’s also its own show.
The menu borrows heavily from its next-door neighbor, and who doesn’t enjoy grazing their way through Italian-inspired fare?
Start with small waffles infused with Parmesan — they’re a tender version of the cheese straw cracker — draped in thin ribbons of prosciutto di Parma. Or disks of fried eggplant dressed with honey and rosemary. Or thick leeks, split and grilled, their charred exteriors yielding to creamy, slighly sweet interiors. All fall in the $6 to $9 range.
Larger appetites ($14 to $25) can feast on a pair of sea scallops, seared with a hint of cumin and resting in a dreamy blend of brown butter, golden raisins and pine nuts, or crispy-skinned chicken with a bright minto pesto. Sea bass crudo, an arctic char carpaccio and fat prawns in a zesty tomato sauce are other options.
Then there’s the pizza. “It’s half like a slice in New York, and half like Burch,” said Becker, the latter being the superb wood-fired pizzas he’s baking in the basement pizzeria at Burch Restaurant.
At Snack Bar, the heat source is a conventional deck oven, and the dough, fueled by a sourdough starter, gets a three-day rise before being baked. There’s are three options for sauces (white, red and red-plus guanciale), and a 25-plus toppings (chicken confit, wilted greens, pancetta), plus three signature options: white pizza with clams, chiles and spinach; red sauce with ricotta and prosciutto di Parma; and basil pesto with house-made sausage and chevre. All are sold whole and by the slice, and North Loop residents can pop in for takeout.
There are five uncomplicated desserts ($8 to $12), including a dense chocolate terrine and a slice of creme anglaise-soaked brioche paired with spiced-up pears.
At the bar, two dozen wines offered on a by-the-glass basis, and nearly two-thirds fall in the $10-and-under category, hurrah. Six tap beers ($6) are all locals, and the house cocktails ($10) and mocktails ($5) are all christened with music-minded names; the “Uncle Big Bad” (hints of mint, almond and tart apple in an effervescent soda) calls back to the days when Becker and St. Pierre were dating, and Becker was playing drums in a band of the same name.
The former Be’wiched has been transformed (it’s the work of Shea Design of Minneapolis), with a U-shaped bar wrapping around the kitchen, and the square room’s outer walls ringed by tables and tufted leather banquettes. It’s a nighttime space, with shiny black floors and burgundy walls, with the space’s enormous windows framing the city’s lights.
Hours are 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday. 800 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-383-2848.