I was recently invited to try out the new menu at Brio Tuscan Grille (disclosure – I received a complimentary dinner for two in order to review the restaurant). They have multiple locations across the country, but I visited the Brio Tuscan Grille at Plaza Frontenac in St. Louis, Missouri. The restaurant describes itself as polished casual – a new term for me. It is a nicer restaurant but still on the more casual side. Still great for celebrations and special events, but also good for everyday dining. I can tell you right away that I was more impressed than I thought I would be and the Brio Tuscan Grille is a restaurant my family and I will be returning to on a regular basis.
The exterior of the Brio Tuscan Grille in St. Louis. Very updated and modern, but with a tough of old world sophistication. Conveniently located on the Plaza Frontenac property (upscale mall) in our area.
There is a large and wonderful outside patio area at the Brio Tuscan Grille. However, it was about 100° F on the day I visited and no one wanted to sit outside that day. When the weather is more pleasant though I know the patio will be filled with people who want to have a glass of wine and maybe a nosh or two.
Every table gets a complimentary basket of fresh breads. The loaf of sourdough was warm and had that wonderful tangy essence that sourdough breads do. They also have some flatbreadsinclude which were coated with herbs and spices and super crisp. My DIL and I loved both of them!
One of the appetizers we ordered was the new Bruleed Parmesan Creme with Balsamic Roasted Grapes and Grilled Ciabatta Bread. Oh my! So this is a sweeter appetizer with the grapes and the bruleed Parmesan creme, but still so amazing. While we had it for an appetizer, I think it would be amazing actually as an ending – a cheese plate if you will instead of a regular dessert – since it has o many sweet elements to it. This would also be amazing if you just want to stop by Brio and have a few glasses of wine and snacks out on the patio. The roasted grapes so reminded me of grape jelly as in childhood, but in a much more adult way.
My DIL also selected the Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Artichoke Dip for an appetizer. She wanted something she was more familiar with. While you can find something similar on many other restaurants menus, the version at Brio Tuscan Grille was totally amazing. Plus it is actually on their light menu with the entire appetizer being only 580 calories. Dividing that among several people really brings the calorie count down for individuals. This is so much better than any other spinach and artichoke dip I have ever had and the parmesan flatbreads served with the dip were amazing!
Now onto the entrees for our dinner. I ordered the Shrimp Risotto with Broiled Lobster Tail. Alone with the seafood it has mushrooms, roasted red peppers, asparagus, basil, and Parmesan. I had been craving lobster for some time so this seemed like the logical choice for me. For those that don’t know, risotto is a creamy rice dish that is so very decadent. I could eat this every single day I think. One thing that really stood out was that the shrimp and lobster were not overcooked. Being land-locked in St. Louis it can be hard to find good seafood that is cooked well. I was really impressed by Chef Travis and his staff that they could cook shellfish properly. Not only was the seafood cooked properly, but so was the rice and veggies. The risotto was incredible creamy and the veggies were not an afterthought, but an integral part of the entire dish. The portion is huge and I had enough that I took home as leftovers for a couple of other meals.
My DIL, Caitlan, went to this tasting with me. For her main course she selected something from the grill. I love that you also get to select a side dish with grilled items instead of it being a la carte as many steakhouses do. She ordered the new 16oz bone-in Espresso Rubbed Ribeye and for her side selected the Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts. I had seen this steak on the menu before we even arrived and thought it sounded good but I’m not a coffee drinker so I thought I might not enjoy it. I was so very wrong. When our meals first arrived I took a small bit from the exterior of the steak and was completely impressed by that. As Caitlan ate the steak and got to the center portion she said I had to try this part too. I took another small bite and oh was she so right! This was truly one of the best steaks I have ever had in my life. Not only was it cooked perfectly (she ordered it medium-rare) but the espresso rub on it was perfect. Not overwhelming in the coffee flavor, it also had a touch of sweet, but the entire rub complimented the steak so well. Not to mention the bone-in steak already offers so much more in the way of flavor for meats.
The Brussels sprouts were wonderful as well. I do the balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts here at home fairly often, but the addition of the applewood bacon, capers, pecans and Reggiano cheese made these stand out. My DIL said every bite was perfect with all those extra little bits.
While both of us were already pretty full from our dinner we couldn’t resist trying one of the desserts. The server, manager, and chef had all recommended the Flourless Chocolate Torte with
Marcona almonds,and olive oil gelato with a drizzle of amazing extra virgin olive oil. O-M-G!!!!! This was truly amazing. I don’t know that anyone could eat the entire dessert on their own because of the richness of the torte though so don’t be afraid to share. Chef Travis suggested we get a little bit of everything into one bite and he was so right.
During our meal we had the service of some amazing staff. CeeCee was our server who was wonderful at suggesting menu items, keeping the table cleared, and packing up our leftovers. Be sure to ask for her section if you visit the same location that we did in Plaza Frontenac. The manger, Vic, also came over several times to share his thoughts on the new menu and to make sure our meal was going smoothly. His knowledge of the menu really impressed us. Finally, Chef Travis came out to talk to us a couple of times as well. This in itself is impressive since he is busy preparing meals for all the other guests. Chef Travis seemed to be genuinely proud of the menu and shared his favorites and talked about how the restaurant created all the items. Again, completely impressed with Chef Travis and I hope he is working when we go back again to Brio Tuscan Grille.
There were so many other items on the menu that intrigued both myself and Caitlan, but you can only eat so much at a time. We actually had tons of scrumptious leftovers to take home. While I did expect the restaurant to be good, I honestly was more impressed than I thought I would be. The decor was lovely, the staff was wonderfully attentive and the food, while not overly complicated, was prepared superbly. I would highly recommend Brio Tuscan Grille to anyone and again, we plan on returning to this location to purchase meals on our own based on this experience.
Take a minute to look at the menus for Brio Tuscan Grille. What item sounds most delicious to you? Have you ever been to Brio Tuscan Grille before and if so, what are your thoughts?