When a hurricane drives a weary evacuee your way, and you’ve been battling storm aftermath yourself, words cannot describe the appreciation of a good meal. What a perfect time to take advantage of the Fall Seasonal Favorites menu at BRIO Tuscan Grille! Through October 1st, BRIO offers guests the hearty flavors of autumn in a special menu including three dazzling entrees with seasonal wine pairings and a brilliantly fresh dessert. Chef Daniel was all too happy to give us a tour of these inventive creations.
BRIO serves authentic, Northern Italian fare. inspired by the flavors of Tuscany. There are BRIO locations in more than 20 U.S. states, including over a dozen in Florida. Our nearest BRIO is at Millenia Mall – a location with smartly maximized space, providing an assortment of tables and booths indoors and outdoors, as well as bar seating. Orlando’s tourist corridor tends to relax on attire expectations, but it is safe to consider this one to be a notch above “casual”.
Starting off with a basket of flatbread and Italian bread and white peach sangria – a flavorful explosion of fruits and seasonings that perfectly prepared my palate for the array of tastes to come. The bruschetta was a surprising delight. Just the bread alone ranked above average… soft and warm in the center, surrounded by a crispy crust. Even with the busiest collaboration of ingredients layered atop it, the bread maintained integrity, and offered prime placement for the stack of flavors accentuated by a tangy caramelized onion sauce that launched this simple appetizer to star status. Honestly, I could justify a “light night” stop here just for drinks and bruschetta – or practically any other appetizer on the standard menu.
But not this time!
Although I can be a finicky eater, I put aside 99% of my “issues” when I’m dining for the purposes of a review. I feel a bit too obligated to providing an honest and complete report, and that’s hard to do when you tend to avoid an assortment of popular food items and ingredients. To be entirely blunt, I came into this experience knowing that each entree in some way involved an item on my typical “hold” list, but I’ve been surprised before, so it can certainly happen again! We received one of each entree, and split each three ways for a healthy sampling. Let’s take a look at the menu…
Chicken and Mozzarella Stuffed Ravioli (top left) – Pancetta, sweet potatoes, asparagus, light champagne cream, Gorgonzola, pine nuts, balsamic glaze. I am not particularly fond of sweet potatoes and I don’t do asparagus. The well-blended combination of ingredients yields a flavor that is entirely unique. No single flavor overpowered. The champagne cream-balsamic glaze mixed so brilliantly for a tantalizing taste! Cooked to the moment of exactly the right tenderness and stuffed with the precisely appropriate quantity of chicken-cheese fusion. This was my favorite entree, but of the three of us, I was solo in this vote.
Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chop (right) – Sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pancetta, Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, maple balsamic vinaigrette. One item I loathe – mushrooms! Not a fan of Brussels sprouts, and here we go again with sweet potatoes! Well, sweet potatoes are two for two tonight! Perhaps I just need to learn Chef Daniel’s secret to the perfect prep and use of the item I’m suddenly developing a fondness for? Speaking of Chef Daniel – he informed us that this pork chop incorporates more than two dozen spices and seasonings… a combination so secret that it is even unknown to him! So, obviously I am not privileged enough to possess the wisdom behind this powerful masterpiece, but it works – SO well! For such a thick cut of pork, it was also very impressive to find it cooked absolutely impeccably. This entree outnumbered my ravioli vote two to one.
Steak Saltimbocca (bottom left) – Stuffed with prosciutto and provolone, crispy fingerlings, chile flake, fried sage, broccolini, Marsala sauce. Not a whole lot I would have the urge to avoid here, but I will admit that I tend to eat my vegetables begrudgingly, and Marsala is not usually something I enjoy. When it comes to beef – I am rarely going to complain, but this is “next-level” good! Tender integrated with crispy and enhanced with a kick of spice – can’t go wrong there! The veggies are undeniably fresh and prepared in a way that will lead anyone back for more.
What’s for dessert, you ask?
BRIO serves up a mean cappuccino, and a decadent array of desserts (in full-size and petites). While the warm chocolate lava cake is one for the books, the fall menu spotlight shines deliciously on the Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler. (And if you think that sounds/looks good… it tastes ten times better!)
This is the last week to check out BRIO’s Fall Seasonal Favorites menu, but there is always something savory being served up at BRIO. To find a location near you, visit the BRIO website. For more information, follow BRIO on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.