A few months ago, a group of friends were talking about celebrating a birthday at the birthday girl's favorite spot. They told us about a eatery called "Brio" and could not stop singing their praises. They used to stop by and have a meal at an Arizona location for special occasions and just for a great tasting experience. John and I were unable to make it when push came to shove, but we were told all about how great of a time everyone had! We made a mental note to actually come and visit the Irvine location in the future; it just sounded so good!
So when I was contacted by Chelsea at Powerhouse Public Relations to come and try the new Moderno Menu at Brio Tuscan Grille, I was completely on board. Last week, John and I made our way to beautiful Irvine, CA to take a peek at what was new! They've incorporated all the newer menu items into the traditional menu, so I've included an excerpt from the press release that includes the list of new Moderno dishes for you all to peruse:
"BRIO is pleased to present the following new menu items:
From the Grille — New Grilled Entrees with Inspired Sides
Fingerling Potatoes BRIO
Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Spinach & Kale
White Bean & Escarole Ragout
Haricot Vert & Roasted Peppers
Roasted Tomato Basil Fettuccine
SO MANY OPTIONS, right? We had such a hard time deciding where to even begin but we were very pleased with our final decisions when we ordered that night.
The restaurant has quite the atmosphere. We were immediately greeted by a lovely hostess with a pretty smile, and were offered seating in the dining room or on the patio. I opted for patio because duh, natural light photos, but also because it was such a nice evening and the patio didn't look like other patios I've eaten on. It was an enclosed area, full of trellis' and greenery, and the tables were set up with the same amount of care that was obvious in the dining room.
Let's talk appetizer! In addition to the fluffy sourdough and flaxseed crispy flatbread (that flatbread though... Can I have a box in my cupboard at all times?), we decided to go with the Brûléed Parmesan Crème. It's served with balsamic roasted grapes and grilled ciabatta... Now doesn't that sound interesting? We definitely thought so.
The Parmesan Creme was delicious and rich, and when paired with the balsamic roasted grapes... hashtag DELISH. I wish i had two trays of the creme, as it ran out before I ran out of the grapes, but just the grapes alone were enough to keep me eating more.
The grapes were slightly acidic thanks to the balsamic, but overall very tender and sweet; a perfect pair for the salty parmesan creme. This is for sure enough to keep me coming back, but can I talk to you about the Fingerling Potatoes?
Roasted to a crispy state of perfection, these morsels of tasty goodness are tossed with crushed red pepper chile flakes and topped with a creamy parmesan sauce. They have a slight spice from the pepper flakes, but its not anything that any non-spicy-food fans should avoid. This dish is honestly one of my favorite things from the night (its the simple things, guys lol), and I really wish we had had leftovers to enjoy the next day. But you guys know my love of potatoes and cheese and all things carbs, so does this surprise you at all?
Now for the entrees! We decided to try the Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and the Lamb Chops Double Cut. Shall we gaze at them in all their glory?
....Yea. I know. BREATHTAKING, right? I felt the same way when they placed them in front of us that night.
The pork tenderloin was served on a bed of white beans cooked with pancetta, rosemary, escorole (a form of endive), tomatoes, farro and orzo. I was immediately drawn to it and had to have a bite...before I even snapped any pictures (woops! Hazard of a delicious subject). The pork had a thin wrapping of prosciutto and the sear on the medallions was a gorgeous color. They were cooked perfectly, so that slicing into them was slightly firm and biting into them was tender and juicy. Cooking pork has always been kind of difficult for me to find that sweet spot, so I can appreciate a great cook when I see it!
The beautiful double cut lamb that you see pictured tasted even better than it looks, if you can believe that. I've heard people complain about the gamey tasted of lamb, and honestly that only happens when you have a poorly cooked and seasoned lamb. THIS lamb, was some of the best I've had. Tender and wonderfully savory, I had a hard time convincing John to share more bites with me!
We left full and very satisfied with our overall experience at Brio Tuscan Grille. We will definitely be back, with friends in tow. Next to try on our list? The Burrata and Ciabatta, the Chef's Seasonal Bruschetta (have I written about my love of bruschetta yet? No? Well that's coming soon enough...) and the Balsamic Braised Short Rib all have my vote. What catches your eye from their new Moderno Menu? Stop in and try it out!
Click here to find the Brio Tuscan Grille location nearest you!