Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brio Tuscan Grille - Beavercreek, Ohio

Last weekend, some friends of ours were nice enough to slide us part of their bounty of Brio coupons so we could both get sitters and go out for a nice, adult dinner.  As most of you know, The Greene is incredibly successful in making my blood pressure go through the roof, so I rarely go there for food or commerce.  When we want to drop a bill on dinner, we usually don't go to a chain, either.  We usually end up at figlio or Barnsider, something on the high end of local eateries.

I did a little research and it was looking like Brio actually makes their own pasta, which actually makes it worth me ordering pasta. If the restaurant is dropping some dehydrated noodles into boiling water, that's not worth me spending the better part of my evening in the john.  Since we were able to stack these $20 coupons, we spared no expense and ordered cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert.  The boys had calamari, and ginger and I had the spinach-artichoke dip.  It wasn't earth shattering, but it was tasty.  The parmesan crisps they served alongside for dipping were actually the best part.  My raspberry mojito was pleasantly boozy, speckled with freshly muddled mint and fresh berries.

Mr. FvF ordered the Lasagna Bolognese al Forno, Gin had the artichoke-crusted beef medallions, Matt had the lamb chops, and I chose Fettucine Napoli.  None of the pictures turned out that great except for my dish (natch) and the dessert.  Eating this pasta, regardless of later intestinal distress, was 100% worth it.  Smoked chicken, pancetta, broccoli, sundried tomatoes and chili flake in an oil & white wine reduction.  It was perfect in every way, really.  Not a damn thing I'd have done differently.  I stopped myself just short of exhausting myself with it since I wanted dessert, and took the rest home to Ma FvF to thank for watching the babe.  I snagged a bite of Mr. FvF's lasagna, which was good - but something was amiss for me.  He referred to it as a "windbreaker of cheese and meat," and loved it, but agreed that it wasn't quite what we normally think of as lasagna.  Now, let me clarify that I don't have Stouffer's in mind when I think good lasagna bolognese.  Mine is fairly labor intensive, and is basically this.  But, I except lasagna to have a certain construction.  This came plated in a way that felt too individual.  In other words, I think it was assembled in the dish, then maybe baked for 10 minutes.  I didn't pick up the richness in their bolognese and it sure didn't seem like this "slice" had spent an hour in the oven, letting all of its flavors mingle.

The boys had tiny red velvet cake desserts, and the gals split a molten chocolate cake, which was delightful.  It's a simple dessert, but not all that simple in making, so these little cakes often go underappreciated.

We really enjoyed Brio, but I'm not sure we'd break our necks to go back when paying full price. The service was top notch, even though our server was about as wet-behind-the-ears as our 3 months old son.  When you consider that one serving of their lasagna bolognese, with tax and tip, would run you over $20 - it's just as easy and much more enjoyable to drop that $20 on some good meat and tomatoes and labor over making your own at home.  

4 out of 5 sporks! 

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