New Jersey has a plethora of fine, to divine Italian restaurants and I have to admit, I’ve been to MANY of them. I know, you are thinking of your favorite right now.
I’d like you to entertain the thought of adding another to your list. This would be Brio Tuscan Grille.Two important things to know about BRIO are their GF Gluten Free options and their LT Light, under 600 calorie options.
First of all, there is the ambiance when you walk in; the cheerful greetings and the TALL ceilings and draperies. It really takes you away. All of a sudden you are no longer in Freehold, but in Tuscany. A great escape to start off with.
Of course, WE came for the food and drink.
They have a huge selection of wines and our server knew what he was talking about when we asked about suggestions. Arlene started off with a fruity Mojito while Sara had Cosmopolitan after which she had a glass of the wine that our server suggested. They also have a fun spirit free drink list. Festive enough for anyone not caring to imbibe.
While we were pursuing the menu we were brought a nice round loaf of Italian bread and some herbed crisps with butter. Always a great way to start off, but here, a little more than just bread. It’s the presentation as well as the taste.
We enjoyed 2 appetizers. The Burrata Ciabatta, even the name rolls off your tongue. This was burrata served with a small bowl of herbed stewed tomatoes and pieces of toasted ciabatta bread. This is a great item to share, a large appetizer. Also good for sharing was the White Tuscan bean dip. OH WOW! This had a lot of flavors going on. The creaminess of the beans, and then olives, artichokes, arugula, cheese and garlic. Not to mention the herbed crisps it was served with.
Next to experience was a salad. This was a kale Caesar salad. I know, you’re thinking kale? Well, they marinate the kale for 3 hours and it gets rid of that metal taste that can sometimes be associated with kale. It was, once again, a many-flavored dish. It had egg, pancetta, olives, kale and other greens, not to mention the dressing. You know, the kind you look for bread to sop it up with?
Next we were on to sample some of the entrees. You know, they have some fine entrees here. The espresso rubbed rib eye is just out of this world, tender and juicy. We sampled the Roasted Whole Chicken, YUP, I said Whole chicken. It is so tender you just won’t believe it! Chicken like it should be made. They roast it with lemon and rosemary just makes it more flavorful. There were also filet medallions with shrimp in a Cajun cream sauce. Not too spicy, but just enough heat.
As if this isn’t enough, each entrée comes with sides. We were able to try the Sicilian Cauliflower, which has capers, peperoncini, pine nuts and bread crumbs. Yeah, I know, this is a pretty awesome combination!! We also were able to try the Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts; this is made with applewood bacon, capers, pecans and reggiano. Why didn’t I think of that before?? These flavors just compliment each other so well. And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite, garlic mashed potatoes. Smooth and creamy and just enough garlic to love.
And for those of you who know me, it’s not a meal out unless there’s dessert. Just a little something, something. In this case, it was a flourless chocolate cake with olive oil gelato and their strawberry shortcake made with roasted strawberries. I know!! Why didn’t I think of that?? Such great combinations.
If you aren’t getting ready to get in your car right now, you must be reading this in the middle of the night. I know because my mouth is watering just writing about it. Let me know what you think when you go, because I know you are going to go try it.