Restaurant Review: BRIO Tuscan Grille

Published June 27, 2012 by mrsrag

Located in the Gardens Mall on PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.  Phone (561) 622-0491.

www.brioitalian.com

 

Ross loves a good lunch spot and one of our personal favorites is the quaint and sophisticated BRIO.  The best spot in the house is on the lovely patio underneath the cool breeze of the fans.  Or right at the bar, if you happen to find an open seat. There are two certainties while visiting; the beef carpaccio as an appetizer and our ALL TIME favorite Riesling, Wente.  We adore a Riesling.  However, it was not always this way.  I was devoted to red wine, but after moving down to balmly Florida, I rediscovered the refreshing effects of a chilled white.  The Wente encompasses everything great about Riesling, medium sweetness with a dry finish.  Crisp and fruity with gentle undertones.  It is the perfect match to the robust and flavorful carpaccio.
 
As usual Maria, you have cut right to the chase.  The Wente Riesling (we call it the George Wendt Riesling, in homage to Norm from Cheers) and the beef carpaccio, absolute must haves.  BRIO is indeed quaint and sophisticated, which is quite unique for a chain restaurant with 50 locations in 20 states, the majority of which are located in malls.  In Florida we have the most, 7, with 4 of those between this PGA locale and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, an hour south.  BRIO offers a wonderful alternative to the usual food court fare found at most malls.  A relaxing and delicious sit down lunch, mid-afternoon snack or even dinner after a day of shopping.  Or, in my case and even better, just stopping in without the shopping at all.  The menu is diverse offering salads, fish, pasta, veal and lamb dishes for the meat lover.  With nothing on the menu more than $28, you don’t have to tax that credit card too much more after the damage you did at the mall.
 
Somehow I knew Ross would pay homage to Norm.  He’s a big Cheers fan.  Ross got me started on the carpaccio, something I usually would never order.  It is served with delicious field greens, capers, mustard aioli and Parmigiano-Reggiano.  It’s light, delicious and a perfect first course.  BRIO always has a great salmon special, but its difficult for me to shy away from the extensive salad menu.  I was getting in the habit of ordering the strawberry balsamic chicken salad, but ventured onto something new during our last visit.  And I was mighty impressed with my new found love: the BRIO sliced steak salad.  They start with the always fresh mixed greens, ripe tomatoes, gorgonzola, mushrooms (which you MUST try sautéed), candied pecans and a creamy horseradish dressing.  It is then topped with tenderloin that is grilled to perfection and a balsamic glaze.  This will be a hard salad to upstage.  The blending of flavors and ingredients is amazing.  And one of my favorite things about it, is that they don’t skimp on the tasty treats.  There is plenty of creamy gorgonzola and sweet pecans to go around.  Something that most other places add sparingly to their salads.  I love BRIO because when I leave there, I don’t feel guilty about what I’ve eaten, but I feel satiated.  Something that is, more often than not, difficult to balance.
 
The salads are excellent and perfect for lunch.  My favorite is the Tuscan Harvest Salad, which has grilled chicken, mushrooms, bacon, almonds, gorgonzola cheese, apples and dried cranberries topped with their Tuscan italian dressing.  And as Maria mentioned, they give you plenty of the good stuff.  Every bite loaded with the things you ordered the salad for in the first place.  The lettuce is just filler and BRIO understands that.  The fish dishes are excellent as well.  The salmon never disappoints and they frequently have a mahi special which I customize by ordering it blackened (I think I could eat a shoe if it was blackened).  On the menu it says: “To eat well is to live well.”  Truer words were never spoken.  Except possibly, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”  
 
Maria’s Rating: 4 Wine Glasses out of 5.
 
Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Wine Glasses.
 
 
 
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