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Brio Tuscan Grille, Houston, TX

Once again, I’ve failed miserably on updating the food blog.  However, this time I have a valid excuse.  Once August hits, my life gets absolutely insanely nuts getting ready for football season.  And for some reason this year was worse.  It shouldn’t have been, because we had 2 more weeks before the first home game….but yet it was.  I brought a little of it on myself, since there were a few things I procrastinated on and then had to race to finish.  But most of it I couldn’t do ahead of time.

Anyways, I’m back on the food blog, and getting back on track.  The day of the caravan in Houston, Mary and I had to run a few errands in town.  We ended up near CityCentre again, but since we had eaten the night before at Houston Texans Grille, and would be eating there again that night, we didn’t want to eat there 3 times in a row.  It was good, but with zillions of other restaurants in Houston, we wanted to do something different.

We finally decided on Brio Tuscan Grille.  I had never eaten there, and Mary said she loved it.  We had to drive to find a parking spot, and ended up on the top floor of the garage at the far end of CityCentre.  As we were getting out of the truck a car drove past us, and we literally felt the whole garage floor shift.  We looked, and there was a huge crack in the cement, and just our body weight made it move a little too.  We were convinced we would come back to no car–and no garage–so we moved the car.  So note to anyone going to CityCentre–don’t park in the garage at the back!

Brio has to be owned by the same company that owns Bravo Cucina in Oklahoma City.  The look and feel of the restaurant is very similar, and the websites look almost identical.

We were seated immediately, ordered drinks, and the bread was delivered. We got a small loaf of bread, as well as a couple of pieces of crispy flatbread.

Brio Tuscan Grille, Houston TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Both breads were really good.  The flatbread had lots of herbs and spices, and definitely had a kick.

I started with the Brio chopped salad

Brio Tuscan Grille, Houston TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Chopped greens with tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber, Feta and red wine vinaigrette

I love when salads are served on ice cold plates.  I’m not a fan of olives, and forgot to ask them not to put them in there.  But the rest of the salad was really good.  The dressing was light and delicious, and the flavors all worked really well together.  The only thing I would have preferred was more romaine instead of mainly iceberg lettuce.

For lunch I went with the Pasta Yandolino, one of their lunch specials:

Brio Tuscan Grille, Houston TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Chicken, spinach, mushrooms, Feta, diced tomatoes, and rigatoni in a light bercy with pesto bread crumbs

I have to be honest.  At first glance, I was disappointed.  This is going to sound really weird, but I like the meat in dishes to have a deeper color.  To me, color means flavor.  And this dish didn’t deliver on the color.  But I figured I had ordered it, so I was going to at least give it a shot.

I’m very glad I did, because this dish was really good.  I had never heard of bercy sauce before…it’s a white wine sauce with shallots and butter, and a few other things.  There was quite a bit of sauce, and the pasta and veggies just soaked it up.  The sauce was so good I used a little of the bread to sop it up.  The dish was light and healthy–well, except for the butter.

Mary had the BBQ chicken pizza, and of course I had to try a piece.

Brio Tuscan Grille, Houston TX - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Spicy BBQ sauce, Mozzarella, yellow tomatoes, green onions, Feta and cilantro pesto

This was so good!!  I  love all of the ingredients on it.  Even though it says spicy BBQ sauce, it really wasn’t.  I think the other ingredients toned that down a little.  If I hadn’t just wolfed down my whole dish I could definitely have eaten that whole pizza.

Will I go back?  Well, unfortunately there’s no Brio’s in Oklahoma. So it will have to be the next time I’m in Texas.  But it is 100% on my list of go-to restaurants whenever I head down south.

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