Monday, September 7, 2015

BRIO Tuscan Grille, Int'l Mall, Tampa

The immediate benefit of selecting this restaurant was its location within the charming promenade of the International Mall, a lively spot. The gals in our group conspired to arrive about an hour early so that we could do a quick run through and shop a little. Why not? The hubbies indulged us. When I made the reservation I had requested a round table, always our preference for good conversation in a party of eight. Brio went out of their way to accommodate us – we were treated to their private room in the back of the restaurant, a beautifully decorated room whose greatest feature was a door that served to drown out the noise from the main restaurant. Brio is a beautiful restaurant and the only negative I can say is that it is noisy. But along with the noise comes an energy and excitement that many will enjoy.
Our waiter was charming, efficient, and very helpful. He even laughed at our corny jokes – and we were in rare form. We started out with some appetizers and frankly could have died and gone to heaven right there after feasting on the Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant (Pan seared shrimp, Romano crusted eggplant, black pepper cream sauce). And yes I put that in bold letters on purpose. You HAVE to try this. The waiter said next time we come (and we will) we can order this as an entrĂ©e served with some pasta….check! We also ordered the Bruschetta Quattro, a sampling of four house-made Bruschetta – another home run.
Hubby and Mike had the Tuscan Grilled Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables (just look at those perfect sear marks on that chop!). Hubby even ate all his vegetables. I had the Pan Seared Halibut served over a Risotto Cake with Julienned Veggies (yum). Everything was cooked to perfection and the servings were more than generous. Of course there were cocktails. Pictured here is Hollie's Raspberry Mojito and my Mango Grigio, a lovely concoction of Mango flavored Rum, Pinot Grigio wine and Ginger Beer. Absolutely delicious and refreshing.
High marks for service and food and presentation and ambiance. My normally picky hubby is sure we'll come back and being the chef that he is has already bought the ingredients he'll need to recreate that Shrimp/Eggplant dish. I have every faith that he'll come very close.
Brio Tuscan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato