While I was home in the Twin Cities for the holidays, I stopped by Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza and had one of the most enjoyable restaurant meals I’ve had in a while. It reminded me how good simple pizza can be.
I have a weakness for ricotta, although I don’t always order it in restaurants because I can make a decent approximation at home. Still, I’m glad we ordered the ricotta at Black Sheep. Served with honey and rosemary, it is a treat.The crisp crackers are a good vehicle for the ricotta, which is light, almost fluffy. The honey makes it slightly sweet; the rosemary gives it a nice herbaceous note.
The farmers market salad is a delight – firm but tender parsnips, carrots, and red potatoes; peppery arugula; and a little fresh cheese all brought together with a bright, lemony vinaigrette and served over a creamy basil aioli. It’s a lovely example of good ingredients, served simply, can shine.
And now, on to the pizza. There’s a generous portion of meatballs that are juicy and not too heavy on the fennel, creamy ricotta, and punches of garlic. It’s nicely balanced. The crust is thin and has a nice char to it. There’s just enough fresh tomato sauce, and the basil keeps it from being too heavy, even though it’s a substantial pizza.
The food at Black Sheep isn’t complicated, but the ingredients are fresh, and the pairings are well-chosen. If I lived in Minnesota, I’d eat here regularly.
Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza – 512 N. Robert St., St. Paul, MN