Brio Tuscan Grille in Cherry Hill at Garden State Park.
So, as soon as we saw that Brio opened at The Promenade in Evesham, we headed on over to this restaurant's latest incarnation.
Italians built their spacious country villas to escape the pressures of urban life and enjoy "La Dolce Vita" - the good life. And Brio aims to bring the pleasures of the Tuscan country villa to America.
In Italy, people mingle with family and friends and eat freshly prepared food from their grounds while surrounded by natural beauty. Brio works to recreate all that.
The new Brio at The Promenade is truly grand. Still, amidst its spacious old world surroundings (with room for families and larger parties) you will also find cozy corners and intimate settings.
We were joined by dear friends and sat at a comfortable table for four nestled between the larger dining area and the airy outdoor seating section.
Brio emphasizes high quality food, superior service, good value and a unique atmosphere. We found all these and more to be much in evidence. Our waiter was helpful and courteous. Menu items included a wide range of selections and options -- all nicely priced. And, although the restaurant was quite crowded, we were able to converse easily and enjoy a full evening without a high decibel level or unnecessary disturbances.Brio's menu emphasizes steaks, housemade pasta specialties and flatbreads prepared in an authentic Italian oven and the restaurant serves generous portions of meats, pastas and roasted fish on large oval, hand-painted Italian plates.
To begin, our choices included the crisp lettuce wedge with Gorgonzola, bacon, Roma tomatoes and parmesan dressing; the chopped greens with tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber, Feta and red wine vinaigrette and the Italian wedding soup. These dishes ranged from $4.95 to $5.95 and all were beautifully prepared and tasty. If you wish, you can add a chopped Caesar or bistecca salad to the main course for $3.95.
For the main course, I favored the pasta Brio ($16.35) which is a rigatoni with grilled chicken, and mushrooms but I wanted this dish with a red pomodoro sauce instead of the roasted red pepper sauce . That proved to be no problem, request granted -- and the dish was comforting though nonetheless zesty. Remember: If you don't see it on the menu, Brio will even create a dish just for you.
Guests enjoyed grilled salmon with Romano crusted tomatoes, citrus pesto, asparagus and crispy shoestring potatoes ($21.95) and angel hair pasta tossed with shrimp, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, feta and pine nuts ($18.35).
The bustling kitchen at Brio is open for all to see and many of these fresh and fragrant dishes are grilled right in front of you. Everything is cooked to order and I have to say that we did not have a single complaint. By the way, a basket of fresh and crispy bread will also be brought to your table.
For dessert, we selected from among the dolphinos. These are individual samplings ($2.95) of Brio's favorites including vanilla bean panna cotta, milk caramel chocolate cake, tiramisu, cheesecake and carrot cake. These marvelous tastings are just right!
We were so comfortable and contented at Brio that we really didn't want to leave. And no one rushed us out the door.
Brio says that in Tuscany the food is everything and it's meant to be a feast for all senses. At Brio Tuscan Grille the food is clearly the star but everything else (ambiance, service, value) harmonizes beautifully -- and that contributes to a feast for the senses and the pocketbook!
PS - Don't miss Brio Promenade's $5 martini night every Wednesday at the bar and the $2.95 Tuscan Taster Bar Menu Monday through Friday evening from 3 to 7 and again from 9 pm till closing.
Interior photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.