Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Brio Tuscan Grille

My husband and I have a few places that we both love and know that we will have a good meal and time at…Brio is one of them. I don’t know exactly what it is about Brio, but every time we go there, we have a good time!  The only Brio around here is at Newport on the Levee. The only annoying thing about this is the parking. They do have valet though, or the garage underneath the Levee is only $2 on weekdays. 

We have gone to Brio with another couple before, and we all had a great time (could have been the two bottles of wine, but the food and service helped too). This night my husband and I went together.  He had made a reservation, but a reservation wasn’t needed on a Thursday night.  On a side note: (this is a really great tip that I got from Kris, if there is a wait, you can sit at the little bar by the grill where they make the flatbread pizzas and bruschetta and a server will wait on you there, first come , first serve. Just ask the hostess.   It’s actually a lot of fun!  We have sat there at least two or three times, and the cooks will sometimes give you free “samples” of the food!)

This night, my husband and I ordered a bottle of wine and took our time perusing the menu.  We ordered the Zinfandel, our wine that we can typically never go wrong with.  Here is the other thing we almost always do when we go to this restaurant: we share an order of bruschetta, share a salad, and share an entrée.  The portions are pretty big, so it’s plenty for two people.  We knew that we wanted to get the Bruschetta Quattro.  This is awesome! It’s four different types of bruschetta: Roasted Red Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella, Smoked Chicken & Portobello, Sliced Steak Bruschetta, and the fourth one changes.  We pretty much liked ALL of them, but we both love the roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella.  It has a balsamic drizzle for a touch of sweetness that both of us love, but really all of them are great!  The bread is toasted but not too crunchy, I loved this dish!

Next we shared the Field Greens Salad which has gorgonzola, pine nuts, roma tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. This is really good too.  It’s definitely big enough to share, and they will portion it out for you if you tell them you are sharing.  I like this salad because it’s a little different than your typical salad but not TOO different. (The picture is half of the salad).

Last, we decided we wanted to share a pasta dish.  We have tried many dishes here, so we decided to ask the server for a recommendation.  He said his favorite pasta dish was the Penne Mediterranean.  This has mushrooms, spinach, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, feta and pine nuts. We ended up adding chicken, which was definitely a good idea.  My husband loved the chicken, it was cooked perfectly.   They split this dish for us as well. This dish was good.  All the ingredients went well together and it wasn’t too heavy. Sometimes when I get pasta dishes, I can barely eat much of it because of the heavy sauce, but this sauce was very light.  Would I get this again? I’m not 100% sure. It was good, but it wasn’t memorable (again, this is just half of the order).

All in all, I really like Brio. You can get a good meal for under $50, especially if you share like we did (excluding wine).  Most of their dishes are $15-$20 but check out their menu for more details. It does get really crowded on the weekends too, but they have a large bar area you can wait, or even walk around the Levee for a bit.
~~Posted by Kate

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