Sunday evening Hubby and I were invited to try out the latest menu specials at Bravo Cucina Italiana Restaurant. Disclosure – this means our meal was free, but these opinions are my own. They are offering a 2-course meal starting at just $12.99 which includes your choice of salad and an entree. That is a really good price in my area for a nice meal that includes both parts.
The special menu, as you can see above, offers several options for both the salad and the entree. I think just about everyone would be able to find a combination they would like from the available choices.
You might notice that the interior looks very similar to Brio Tuscan Grille that I reviewed a few weeks ago, that is because the restaurants are actually owned by the same company. On my visit to Bravo it was so interesting that Chef Clinton said he knew and had trained Chef Travis, who is the head chef at Brio. Both chefs really seem to be proud of the restaurants and really enjoy their jobs. Chef Clinton is the youngest executive chef they have ever had at Bravo as well at just 30 years old. Pretty impressive.
Both Chef Clinton and our amazing server, Andrea, both had an amazing understanding of the menu. I really like this when I try a new place. The people that have worked there, and have the personality to share their thoughts, are so helpful. Ask what the favorites are of people who work where you eat and also what are favorites of the majority of the patrons.
For the appetizer (not included in the special 2-course menu) Hubby and I opted for the calamari. Server Andrea actually mentioned the Crispy Shrimp Napoli as one of the favorites and she made it very tempting, but then she mentioned the Calamari Fritti. She said that was actually her favorite but she knows that not everyone is open to calamari. No problem here, we love it! They soak the calamari in buttermilk also to help tenderize them before breading them. Hubby and I both were very impressed with how tender the calamari actually were. Not only that, but it is served with two different sauces, a Pomodoro (red sauce) and a creamy horseradish sauce. Both sauces were great on their own with the calamari and mixed together on a bite.
Hubby opted for the Antipasti Salad from the special 2-course menu. While I did enjoy my salad choice (below), I also tasted this one and was really impressed. This was a totally Italian tasting and flavor packed salad with Romaine, sopressata, Provolone, pepperoncini, red onion, black olives, marinated red peppers, basil, oregano, red wine vinaigrette. The only issue was that the sopressata and cheese and such were kind of clumped together – if you order this make sure to spread those pieces out to get them throughout the salad.
My salad choice from the special 2-course menu was the Insalata Della Case (house salad) which is a chopped salad. Very tasty and Server Andrea said one of the favorites, especially among the ladies who lunch at Bravo. It was not as flavorful as the Antipasti Salad but still a nice solid salad. I really loved the crispy pasta strips on it. I’m not sure how they make or season them, but they are exceptional.
For our main entree, Hubby opted for the Linguine Carbonara, Fresh linguine, white wine, heavy cream, Applewood bacon, peas, and black pepper, which I honestly had no idea he liked even after all these years together. You also have the option to add an egg on top, which he did. If you have never done this you should try it, when you break the egg yolk onto the pasta it just adds such an amazing richness to the sauce. Server Andrea also suggested he add blackened chicken to the pasta, which he did. Yes, of course, I tasted this as well and it was dreamy. Normally I’m not a Carbonara fan, but I really did enjoy this one and may order it next time we go to Bravo.
For my main entree I was torn between the Shrimp Scampi Pasta which has fresh capellini, tomatoes, lemon, white wine, chili flake, pesto bread crumbs, garlic crostini and the Grilled Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese served with herb marinated chicken breast, pesto bread crumbs, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, haricot vert, and lemon butter. What tipped the scales for me is that Chef Clinton said that the chicken dish was his favorite on the 2-course special menu (it’s on the regular menu as well). I’m glad I took his advice because it was really delicious. To be honest, the mashed potatoes were my favorite thing on the plate, but if you are a regular reader you know that mashed potatoes are my favorite food ever. There are a lot of different elements and flavors with this chicken dish but they do all marry nicely and keep you excited to keep eating. FYI, I had leftovers and they were awesome for lunch the next day.
At this point in the meal I was so satisfyingly full, but Chef Clinton had told us earlier about this Petite Warm Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie and Hubby said he must try it. He is addicted to peanut butter and Chef Clinton also had said that about himself. This is definitely petite, it is about 1/3 of the size of most desserts, but also lower in cost. Hubby kindly let me take a tiny bite though and I was pretty darn impressed. I’m not as much of a peanut butter fan as Hubby, but this all worked together really well and it was just the right amount of sweetness to end the meal. Some desserts are too sweet for me, but this was just the right balance.
To sum everything up, Hubby and I both really enjoyed the meal. Bravo is not quite as “fancy” as Brio was, but that is better for Hubby. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful which makes any dining experience so much better. Our local Bravo is located at West County Center Mall which makes it easily accessible whether we make reservations or go on spur of the moment after shopping. I can easily say that I will be dining again at Bravo on a regular basis and recommend it to friends as well.
There are Bravo locations in many areas across the country so if you have one near you be sure to try it out. The restaurant has plenty of classic dishes that people enjoy but you can also enjoy some new spins on those classics if you are a more adventurous eater.
Have you dined at a Bravo restaurant before? What would you order from the Bravo menu on your next visit?
BONUS PHRASE: Here is another bonus for the Comment & Win Giveaway – enter the word BRAVO on the main entry page on 8/29 or 8/30 for an extra entry!