On Monday Adam and I had the opportunity to try out the new Fall Seasonal Favorites Menu at BRIO Tuscan Grille at the Markets at Town Center location. In all my time spent in the Town Center area, I had actually never been to BRIO but heard great things about the food so I was excited to sample the menu. (Plus, we were excited about having a babysitter. #datenight) General manager Joel and waitress Tiffany went above and beyond to make sure Adam and I had great first experience at BRIO.
BRIO (meaning “lively” or “full of life”) is a “polished casual” restaurant serving authentic, northern Italian cuisine. The subtitle, “Tuscan Grille” is descriptive in the menu that features oven-roasted steaks, chops and seafood, similar to what one would find in an authentic ristorante in Tuscany. BRIO’s philosophy is “to eat well, is to live well;” which is why it only uses the finest and freshest ingredients. BRIO brings the pleasure of the Tuscan country villa to the American city.
Through October 1st, BRIO guests can enjoy a special Fall Seasonal Favorites menu including Chicken & Mozzarella Ravioli, Grilled Balsamic Glazed Porkchop, Steak Saltimbocca, Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler, and seasonal wine pairings.
For a limited time, BRIO is also offering a Two-Course Early Dinner Combo weekdays from 3pm to 5:30pm through October 20th featuring a select entree paired with soup, salad, or dessert starting at only $12.95.
Roasted Red Pepper, Sliced Steak, Prosciutto Asparagus (seasonal)
When I think about bruschetta, I usually think about a mixture of tomatoes, garlic, and basil piled onto crispy baguette and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to try these three very different versions of the traditional bruschetta. The roasted red pepper bruschetta was my favorite with it’s sweet pepper, creamy mozzarella, and tangy balsamic drizzle. The seasonal bruschetta came in second with it’s salty prosciutto, sweet caramelized onions, and gooey cheese. The sliced steak bruschetta was good (steak, charred tomato, gorgonzola cheese, and arugula) but pales in comparison to the other two options. (I mean, they had me at prosciutto.)
Chicken & Mozzarella Stuffed Ravioli
Pancetta, sweet potatoes, asparagus, light champagne cream, Gorgonzola, pine nuts, balsamic glaze
I was most excited to try this dish because pasta + champagne but the ravioli filling was a little too dry for my liking. But let’s talk about that sauce because I all but picked up the plate and licked it clean. I also loved the pairing of roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus. If the ravioli filling had been a little less flaky, this would have been my favorite entree of the night.
Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chop
Sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pancetta, Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, maple balsamic vinaigrette
But moving on to my actual favorite entree of the night, the balsamic glazed pork chop. The pork chop was tender, juicy, and grilled to perfection. Those seasonal veggies. Yes, yes! Full disclosure: I don’t normally care for sweet potatoes but they paired so well with the Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, mushrooms, and maple balsamic vinaigrette. That maple flavor made for a delicious yet unexpected sapidity. You guys, I think BRIO turned me into a sweet potato fan for the first time in my life. Bravo!
Stuffed with prosciutto and provolone, crispy fingerlings, chile flake, fried sage, broccolini, Marsala sauce
The Steak Saltimbocca was… interesting. Cheese is my love language but watching the provolone ooze out of the rolled steak when you cut into it was a little unappetizing. Nevertheless, the flavor of the dish was cohesive with the roasted potatoes and broccolini. I much preferred the other two dishes over this one.
Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler
Served warm with vanilla bean gelato, powdered sugar
Y’all, I will never – NEVER – be able to look at peach cobbler the same way again after having this rendition. This is peach cobbler taken up a notch with snickerdoodle cookie dough crust and vanilla gelato. I literally could not quit eating this dessert and eventually made the waitress take it away from me so I wouldn’t make myself sick. It’s *that* good. Actually, I would go back to BRIO just to have the peach cobbler. Ok, I’ll stop droning on now. But seriously – SO. GOOD.
Dessert Trio Sampler
Creme Brulee, Marscapone Cheesecake, and Strawberry Shortcake
And as if my sweet tooth wasn’t tickled enough by the peach cobbler (did I mention how good the cobbler is, y’all?), we also tried out a dessert sampler. Order of favorite to least favorite: cheesecake, creme brulee, and shortcake. The cheesecake was a surprising winner but the marscapone really elevated the dish, a tantalizing rendition of an old classic. Creme brulee never goes out of style – crunchy sugar glaze over creamy custard. But the strawberry shortcake fell a little short to me (no pun intended)… but what did it expect when it was being compared to the peach cobbler.
Overall we really enjoyed the food at BRIO. If I was ordering again, I’d start with the roasted red pepper bruschetta, the pork chop, and the peach cobbler (surprising absolutely no one). One other thing to note – a live band was playing the evening we visited and we were pleasantly surprised at how well we could still converse over the music. The band accentuated the night nicely instead of overpowering our date. (In case you’re wondering why I’ve made a habit to note the volume level at restaurants, read this.)
BRIO at The Markets at Town Center is located at 4910 Big Island Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32246. The 11,254-square-foot restaurant has indoor seating for 160 guests and al fresco dining for 88 on its Italian-style terrace featuring an outdoor fireplace. BRIO also offers two private dining areas seating accommodating groups ranging from 18–30. BRIO offers lunch and dinner, as well as a special children’s menu; brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday until 3:30 p.m. The restaurant is open Sunday from 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Monday–Thursday 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. For reservations, please call (904) 807-9960.
Thank you to BRIO and Kafka Media Group for the dining experience. Opinions are my own.