After going to the nearby Naples Art Museum, lunch at Brio was a perfect ending. We ordered a salad, crab cake, flatbread pizza, and a carmel cream brulee. All were delicous. The service was top quality. By going a little before noon we were able to beat the rush. The place filled up quickly after our arrival. It looked like a lot of business people from the nearby companies were eating lunch there, as well as the shoppers at the Waterside Shops mall it is located in.
Brio, I categorize as: Italian, with brick-oven flatbread pizzas and wood-grilled or roasted meats and vegetables as well as a sampling of some provincial fare. Desert runs the gambit of North-South Italian; I can only speak for the Vanilla bean that is the best of the homemade gelati which draws me in every time.
For a Holiday lunch an associate and I chose Brio, Tuscan Grill, at the Waterside Shops in Naples. We arrived at about noon and found parking untenable. They have a complimentary valet parking to which we wisely surrendered the car. The weather was beautiful and the restaurant was packed, inside and out. There was a 45 minute wait so we reserved for 1 PM and walked the shops (amazing selection including William Sonoma, Tiffany’s, Saks, and a myriad of local gallery shops).
On returning we were seated promptly in a plush booth and immediately greeted by our waittress. Service, by the way, was sufficient to warrant a 30% gratuity from a Scottish wallet.
We had decided to sample the Naples Brio on the recommendation of my friend who raved about the seed-and-herb crusted flat-bread he had found at the Dallas establishment (yes it’s a chain). He was spot on! The demi-loaf of still warm house-made Tuscan bread was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. We mentioned our flat-bread quest to our server and she doubled the number of the crisp triangular herb-seasoned grail. Butter served in a butter dish, softened to room temperature, to replace the bountiful family sized pat on a cold plate would be the only enhancement I would suggest.
The Caesar Salad, extra dressing on the side, individually made, blended perfectly, properly had only greens, and was not wet but well slathered. The extra dressing was wasted… Anchovies were used but not announced so if it is not your preference ask they exclude them.
The Zuppa Del Giorno, cream of mushroom, heavy on the cream, mushrooms and flavor, was my soup choice. The bowl was not large complementing the size of the entrees to come and was thick walled and well warmed to maintain the temperature throughout. A crown puddle-ette of mild Truffle oil magnifying chopped mushroom bits completed the presentation.
For entrée, we had the Lasagna Bolognese Al Forno that was deep, hot, filling, and also enough for two. Being a gourmet and a chef of sorts he noted that they used beef, pork, and veal to enhance the taste and texture. My note from my dish is that they use fine dried tomatoes along with the fresh with a brief sniff of basil…
If you do choose to eat outside — which to the trained observer appeared very enjoyable — I suggest you ask for a table away from the edges, or strategically choose umbrella placement, since they do get some sun.
Brio for the ambiance, neighborhood, and service is NOT pricey — our lingering lunch including the well deserved tip came to about $35. The food is superb, the service is great, and the atmosphere is pleasing. I can't wait to go back. I'm hoping to do a review of Dinner at Brio at some point.
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