There is no such thing as too much Italian food, especially if it’s good Italian food. BRIO Tuscan Grille, now open at the Irvine Spectrum, adds a fresh destination for Italian food lovers from any corner of Orange County.
BRIO is a chef-driven, neighborhood restaurant concept offering a wide variety of dishes including grilled and oven-roasted steaks, fresh fish, made-to-order pastas, bruschettas and flatbreads.
We took the kids to BRIO for dinner and were able to find something delicious for our carnivorous young man, our vegetarian young lady and even our gluten-sensitive girl, so everyone was pleased. As for atmosphere, BRIO’s high ceilings and contemporary rustic décor nicely straddles the line between beautiful and casual, with just enough class to make it feel like you’re out to a nice family dinner without so much high-brow that a you feel out of place bringing the brood.
We tried the Grilled Lamb Chops with Pistachio Mint Pesto, which tasted as good as it sounds, the freshness of the mint subtly lightening up the richness of the lamb. Also on the table were Pasta BRIO (their signature pasta dish, with rigatoni, grilled chicken and seared mushrooms in a roasted red pepper sauce); Campanelle Carbonara
(grilled chicken, crisp bacon, parmesan cheese, sauteed spinach and creamy alfredo); and Roasted Vegetable and Whole Grain Spaghettini with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and peppers, asparagus, capers, feta, parmesan, pine nuts and fresh thyme.
Dinner at BRIO is the right time to splurge on dessert. Try the petite dessert sampler and you’ll get five small desserts packing serious delectable flavors, including caramel cake, tiramisu, key lime pie, peanut butter and chocolate mousse, and a seasonal offering (ours was carrot cake); add the dessert “trio” and you’ll go over the top with butterscotch bread pudding, crème brulee and caramel mascarpone cheesecake. If you aren’t afraid of each other’s cooties, play musical desserts and everyone will get a several bites of each flavor – and come morning you’ll be plotting your return to BRIO, as we are. M