Yeah, I said it. Rich and Italian. What’s wrong with goals?? A girl wants what a girl wants, and growing up in Philly around so much Italian culture and food, I know good Italian good when I taste it (and a hot Italian guy when I see one!) Yes, spending time in South Philly especially endeared me to the Italian culture, and there’s nothing like a fresh piece of mozzarella or a fresh piece of Italian hunk. So when I was invited in to Brio Tuscan Grille at the Boca Raton Town Center to sample some of their new menu items, it was a date I couldn’t pass up. And then some.
As any fine Italian meal should, ours started with something sexy to sip on. I chose the White Peach Sangria, made with peach nectar, fresh berries and citrus fruits, Peach Schnapps and Chardonnay. Light, refreshing and crisp, it was definitely a South Florida tropical take on sangria, and I whole-heartedly approve of these cultures mixing.
Two of the new appetizers arrived at our table next, the first being the Burrata & Ciabatta: Creamy fresh Mozzarella, roasted tomato, extra virgin olive oil and grilled ciabatta. It may sound simple, but there is NOTHING simple about the explosive flavors of this dish. PLUS the presentation was adorable. It says it right in the description: “creamy fresh mozzerella.” If only you all could actually taste those words, you would know true Italian cheesy bliss. Paired with the fire roasted tomato sauce atop the ciabatta which was grilled but not too crisp (I prefer to have some softness to my bread), the party in my mouth was so Italian that even Pacino would have been threatened by it.
We were also treated (and trust me, treated is an understatement for this dish,) to the Bruschetta Sampler, with the new Seasonal Bruschetta, made with caramelized onions marinated in Pinot Noir, fontina, roasted asparagus, and prosciutto. The other two kinds were the Sliced Steak with gorgonzola, arugula, charred tomato, parmesan and the Roasted Red Pepper with fresh mozzarella, basil, parmesan, and balsamic glaze. All three were incredible. I loved the true Italian taste of the balsamic glaze on the roasted red pepper, and gorgonzola is possibly one of my favorite steak toppings. VERY interesting combinations, and certainly satisfying,
But the top paisan was definitely the seasonal bruschetta. Never, have I ever (and I usually win at this game), had onions that are not only caramelized, but marinated in Pinot Noir as well. The onions end up with this sweet, tangy, taste, while the wine soaks up some of the sugar making it savory as well. Pair that with the salty prosciutto and smooth fontina, and you’ve got flavors that give me the strength to straighten out the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
One of Brio’s new entrees is the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, served with haricot vert, crispy fingerling potatoes, creamy horseradish, and roasted peppers. Anytime there’s horseradish involved, I know I’m going to love the taste, but to me (and growing up near the Maryland shore, perhaps I’m spoiled), I felt the crab cakes had too much filler for my taste. The sides got a resounding “YES” from me, and I gobbled them up.
Another of Brio’s featured new entrees is the Crab-Crusted Salmon, served over roasted vegetables, farro, quinoa, and topped with a lemon vinaigrette. I preferred the crab in this dish as opposed to the one in the crab cake, despite being told it was the same crab, perhaps it was cooked differently. The salmon was cooked beautifully as well. The dressing was light and smooth and paired well over everything. The carrots were by far my favorite vegetable, because sometimes I can appreciate healthy too.
There’s NO WAY I was going to let the meal pass by without ordering their new side, the Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts. Can we all just take a second to let that title sink in? Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you the description: Roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with capers, a sticky balsamic-maple sauce, crisp bacon, and crunchy pecans, then finished with Reggiano cheese. Yeah. Take that. Take that all in. I certainly did. I mean, this dish is combining a few of my favorite things, and I sure as shit ain’t talking about raindrops on roses. Capers. Brussels Sprouts. Maple. Bacon. Serve it on top of Channing Tatum and you’ve pretty much got my dreams coming true. Unbelievable.
And if your mouth isn’t watering yet, you’re gonna wanna grab a towel to mop up when I tell you about our dessert. When I talk about rich food, it doesn’t get any richer than this Flourless Chocolate Torte. I mean seriously, you could probably cash this thing in at the bank for a loan. It’s served with crushed marcona almonds and olive oil gelato, which is possibly one of the most interesting flavors I’ve ever tried. Olive oil gelato is something that sounds like it could go horribly wrong, but Brio does it right, where it finishes off with a light, simple flavor, and if you didn’t know it was olive oil, you might not even be able to place it, you would just take comfort in the fact that you are enjoying something incredibly delicious.
As I left that night, satisfied with my Italian food yet not quite satisfied with my Italian love life, I thought to myself, “I still got the better end of the deal. Thank you, Brio.”
Brio constantly adds new menu items and has great deals for special occasions! Stay tuned to my Facebook for updates!
***I received complimentary noms in exchange for this post, however, you cannot bribe me with food, so all opinions are my own.