A little less than two weeks ago we had an awesome dining experience at the Brio Tuscan Grille that is located in the Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, CA at 774 Spectrum Center Drive. We were invited as guests of the restaurant and were happy to make the visit over to Brio. The location is great in that the Irvine Spectrum is a place that is always bustling with activities and fun restaurants and shopping!
The Brio Tuscan Grille in Irvine opened last year in July 2014 and I had visited once before to celebrate both my hubby and my birthday with my best friend in September 2014. J She took us there for dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed it, so we were excited to visit again to check out the newest fall specialties.
We happened to visit Brio during National Pasta Month and there was an awesome special going on Sunday through Thursday for $19.95 a person and we were there on a Sunday! The menu choices looked great. Everything was fresh and seasonal for fall…All we could hope was that the weather would soon catch up…after all that evening it was still 90 degrees at 5:30pm late in September…That is what California is all about though! 🙂
The $19.95 special was called, “The Art of Pasta,” and it included a salad, an entrée, and a dessert! This awesome special makes me think that Brio regularly offers different kinds of deals…That is my kind of place. 🙂 Our waitress, Eva kindly made her way to our table to introduce herself and to give us a basket of fresh bread which came with two different varieties, sourdough and a crunchy cracker style. We were hungry and began to chow down…my hubby’s preference was the cracker and mine was the sourdough, so it all worked out. 🙂
We each started our meal with a cocktail. I selected the cucumber basil gimlet and my hubby had the Gin & Ginger. The cucumber basil gimlet was prepared with Hendricks’s Gin, fresh basil, crushed cucumbers, angostura bitters, and fresh lemon and lime juices for $7.95. The Gin & Ginger was prepared with Hendricks’s gin, ginger syrup, citrus juice and soda for $7.50. We were both happily satisfied with our selections as they were quite refreshing with the terrible California heat that had been persisting into the evening hours on this late September day.
The first food items to arrive to our table were the two salads we ordered with the trio meal. My husband ordered the Caesar Salad which was full of flavor and prepared with Brioche croutons for $5.95 & I ordered the Bistecca Insalata which was served with a Lettuce wedge, Gorgonzola, bacon, tomatoes, creamy Parmesan dressing for $5.95. I loved my salad and my hubby loved his. The creamy parmesan dressing from my salad also went quite nicely on the sourdough bread as a dip. 🙂
Next, we decided to order the Crab & Shrimp Cakes plate because we wanted some sort of seafood to start our meal and this one sounded like it would hit the spot! The crab cakes were prepared with red-skinned potatoes, roasted vegetables, and creamy horseradish for $19.95. This dish was delicious…Dare I say these were some of my most favorite crab cakes I have ever had…they truly were delicious. I think there was a perfect blend of ingredients and the next time I visit Brio, I will be sure to order these again! This dish paired lovely with my Brancott Sauvignon Blanc glass of white wine from New Zealand.
For my main course, I selected a seasonal dish that was delicious. My dish was called, Chicken, Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Campanelle, which was perfectly prepared with Barilla campanelle, crimini mushrooms, spinach, pancetta, thyme, parmesan, champagne brown butter sauce, toasted breadcrumbs. Available for $13.95 when not selected with the trio meal, this dish was well worth it! I loved this dish and I was excited to have leftovers for lunch at work the next day! The sweet potatoes added a very nice touch to this dish and made me feel like fall had arrived even with our warm weather. 🙂 I paired this dish with a glass of Rocca Della Macie Chianti Classico from Tuscany, Italy which brought back memories of my most recent trip to Tuscany this past June. Their wine is divine and paired with this dish, I was in heaven!
My husband ordered the Sausage Napoli which consisted of Barilla spaghettini, sausage, crimini mushrooms, spinach, garlic, creamy charred tomato sauce, parmesan, and toasted bread crumbs. Served individually it was also priced at $13.95. I am not a sausage fan, so I cannot say I tried this dish, but from his words exactly, he said, “Sausage flavor was good and it permeated the sauce, but did not overpower, nice flavor, soft and tender, right amount of pepper…slight tickle, sauce was cream based but not overly creamy and it seemed to take juice from the sauces and gently coated the spaghetti. The finely sprinkled grated parmesan gave this dish a slightly salty bite. Tomatoes added a nice acidic balance and the sausage had a pleasant fennel seed overtone.”
For dessert we finished our meal with Caramel Mascarpone Cheesecake served with Anglaise sauce, vanilla whipped cream & Chef’s Seasonal Dolchino, which happened to be a seasonal bread pudding that was amazing! Both of these desserts are normally $3.95 & are well worth it. We enjoyed them both, but we agreed that the bread pudding was our favorite as we could tell it was prepared by the chef with much love. 🙂
Brio Tuscan Grille restaurant has locations Nationwide throughout California, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri , North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, & Virginia. See all locations in link here –> Brio Tuscan Grille Locations. This was definitely awesome as I did not know how many locations there were until people on my social media accounts started to express to me how much they love this place. The people I spoke to are in Nevada and Florida! I am so happy that we now have a Brio Tuscan Grille near our home here in Orange County, California and I do look forward to dining there again soon in the near future!
I definitely want to take advantage of some of their happy hour specials in the future, which include:
*Enjoy Bar BRIOSO with plates and pours starting at $4.
*Join us for $5 Martini Wednesdays in the Bar!
*Toast Thursdays with $5 Wine Pours in The Bar!
Have you ever been to the Brio Tuscan Grille? What were some of your favorite dishes there? Please share your thoughts I the comments below! 🙂
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