Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thrice: Brio Tuscan Grille

Let me start by saying: This is the third time I've eaten at Brio Tuscan Grille at the Christiana Mall (hence the title Thrice).  The first two times did not make me want to go back because the food I ordered were not good.  They say the third time's a charm... well, it may be true but not charming enough!  In my opinion, Brio is like Olive Garden's big sister.  The restaurant is more upscale, bigger bar area with huge flatscreens to watch sports during happy hour, nicer decor, has a nice patio to eat outside, more interesting/special dishes, pricier menu, and better wait staff.  But what good is all of that when the food is just average.  I keep thinking, "I just ordered a dud. I should have ordered X instead."  I wasn't even going to post this review because this is a chain restaurant and I didn't have too much to say about it.  But I can't be raving about every restaurant I go to, now can I?  Continue reading if you want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Brio Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Appetizer: Roasted Garlic, Spinach & Artichoke Dip $10.95

The dude (aka DB) and I always order Spinach & Artichoke dip as an appetizer whenever we go out.  It's something that has been going on since the first day we met, when I introduced him to this delicious appetizer on our first date at Home Grown!  Ever since then, he was spoiled by the best spinach & artichoke dip, so nothing can compare to that first bite.  Brio's version was still good, the wow factor being that they used crispy flat bread instead of pita or toasted, sliced Italian bread.  It's no Home Grown, but at least the cheese isn't greasy or too heavy like some places (aka Applebees).  As far as appetizers go, I can recommend their Margherita Flatbread, which I had during my second visit and that was the one thing that I really enjoyed that night!  I do recall grabbing for the Calamari Fritto Misto during the second visit as well.

The first time I dined here, I ordered the Pasta Pomodoro with Chicken, which was a huge mistake on my part.  I like tomatoes, chicken, pine nuts, and cilantro pesto sauce, but it did not mix well together at all!  The bed of angel hair only made the dish worse.  I remember how sad I was eating the bland pasta with bites of sour tomatoes here and there, and just wishing I chose something else!  For my second Brio experience, I chose another regretful dish, Chicken Limone.  Three words: dry sour chicken.  So behold, I finally chose the right entree... but it took me three tries.

Brio Grilled Salmon

Entree: Grilled Salmon $21.95
(*Romano crusted tomatoes, citrus pesto, asparagus and shoestring potatoes) 

My salmon was a good choice, but I actually did not like the crispy potato shoestrings all that much, really wish it was not there.  It was nice for garnish (if they add so much of it) but I didn't really want to eat it.  The fried tomatoes were definitely unique and presentation wise, it was really gorgeous!  I did enjoy my grilled salmon and tomatoes, but not the party of string thin fries on top.  I was also fine with the side of fresh asparagus, but they weren't magical or anything.

Brio Pasta Fra Diavolo

Pasta Fra Diavola $19
(*Penne with a spicy tomato cream sauce and green onions)

The dude's pasta was penne with a bland cream sauce that a little bit spicy and lots of grilled chicken and big shrimp. I commend them on the portion size and lots of good shrimp, but the entire dish was just okay.  After my dude's first bite, his facial expression said it all, "Meh, it could be better."

I think going there for lunch would be good because the first time we went, the table next to us were raving about the Brio chopped salad and this time, the couple next to us were in love with the Brio salad too, as well as the lobster bisque soup!  For us, we'll stick to Olive Garden for dinner because Brio is expensive for the mediocre entrees they serve.

Overall Dude Grade (food, service, decor): C-
Originally just a "C" but got bumped down because he did not enjoy all the tables being packed together, "The tables were way too close together.  It's like we were dining with strangers!"

*Descriptions taken from Brio Tuscan Grille's website


  1. OH MAN! Only a C-? I love Italian food so anytime it is let down it makes me sad. Since you are going to Vegas this weekend, may I suggest my all time favorite italian restaurant? If you have time, book a table at Il Mulino. It is inside the Caeser's Palace forum shops. The food is amazing, and you will not be disappointed. I took my 100% Italian friend there and she was blown away by it! Ciao darling :)

    1. Thanks for the rec B! I have heard of Il Mulino actually, there's one in Atlantic City and I did see good reviews for it. I will check it out if we run out of places to go for food in Vegas haha. My friends really want to go to some buffets at the Wynn, Bellagio and MGM, so asian, always eating at buffets =D I also really want to try Wolfgang Puck's Pizzeria & Cucina and his main restaurant (i know, i'm such a food snob).

      I love Italian too! Did you read my very first post/review? Went to a hidden gem Italian place in AC for NYE and that experience pushed me over the blogging ledge! I was so excited that I started a blog when I got home to write about the most amazing NYE meal I ever had. =D


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