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Brio Brings Tuscan Flair 

Brio Tuscan Grill Executive Chef Michael Siegman displays the new restaurant’s open-fire oven that produces Tuscan delights and enhances menu items.

In Italian, “brio” means “lively,” executive chef Michael Siegman explains – and it’s an apt description of the service and cuisine you can expect when you dine at one of the Walt Whitman Shops’ newest eateries that will please your taste buds, your senses and your wallet alike.

Open nine weeks in Huntington Station, Brio is part of Columbus, Ohio-based Bravo Brio Group. Siegman said the goal is to make “everyone feel like a guest in our home,” no small feat when you have a bustling mall in full Christmas swing as your neighbor. But thanks to attentive service, a tasteful, Tuscan-style interior and clever use of elevations, Brio does so with flying colors.

Chef Michael started us off with an overflowing Bruschetta Quattro ($14.95). The quartet, served atop perfectly-toasted bread, included: sliced steak, which pairs perfectly with gorgonzola dolce and slightly-sweet Tuscan Italian dressing; and similarly diverse Prosciutto and Asparagus accompanied by pinot noir onions and fontina cheese. A seasonal shrimp offering brings satisfying heat that lingers as a welcome guest, not one that will have you scrambling for ice water. Purists will never go wrong with roasted red pepper atop Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Tuscan Harvest Salad ($14.95), a balanced blend of mixed greens, wood-grilled chicken shaved thin, sliced Cremini mushrooms, Applewood smoked bacon, sliced Red Delicious apples, all tossed with almonds, Gorgonzola, dried cranberries and sweet Tuscan Italian dressing, is another winner that illustrates Brio’s culinary credo – no one ingredient is the star; it’s a team effort that pleases and surprises by sight, smell and taste.

Still looking to bring the heat, check out the Spicy Shrimp and Eggplant ($11.95), a decadent pairing of creamy-textured eggplant topped with spicy shrimp cut by silky cream sauce.

Aromatic, cheesy and creamy describes the Sweet Potato and Chicken Risotto ($18.15), a vibrant, colorful medley of pancetta, pulled roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, crisp asparagus, Parmigiano-Reggiano, thyme and pine nuts. Not only was it our favorite entrée, it’s also Chef Michael’s go-to plate.

Other entrees are also impressive. Chicken Limone ($19.95) takes traditional Piccata and kicks it up with especially tender, pounded-thin chicken and a sunny lemon sauce that is sweeter than it is tart. Different flavors delightfully take turns in the spotlight in Pasta Pesto ($14.95) – a tossed medley of angel hair, grilled chicken, caramelized onions, basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers, feta and spinach – relies on natural oils in the ingredients. Ravioli di Bello ($15.45), a Portobello ravioli, boasts a simple, delicious flavor profile, smooth texture and expertly cooked pasta. Gluten-free and lower-cal options are available as well.

Desserts are light, several of them airy and whipped, with an attention to balance that permeates the menu. They’re perfect noshes for sipping coffee with, chatting a while longer with friends and planning your next escape to your new Tuscan oasis.

Brio Tuscan Grille
160 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station
(at the Walt Whitman Shops)
631-479-3816
www.brioitalian.com/walt_whitman_shops

Atmosphere – Spacious and comfortable
Cuisine – Tuscan-style Italian
Price – Moderate
Hours – Sun: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Mon-Thurs: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri & Sat: 11: a.m.-11 p.m.; Brunch Sat. & Sun. ’til 3:30 p.m.

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