First Taste

First Taste: Brio Tuscan Grille

We tried to be good. We really did.

Go take a quick step outside. Did you feel it? That's right. It's pool weather and if there's one reason we've been slogging it out at the gym day in and day out it's to enjoy this weather with preferably only two to three percent body fat.

Mission failed.

One of the things that's certainly not helping us get in shape is the opportunity to carbo-load at Brio, the latest in a nation-wide chain of "Tuscan grilles" located in the Scottsdale Quarter. Scottsdale's Brio location has only been open since Wednesday so we popped on over to take a look. Just to look...yeah right.

Flowing chiffon curtains and a wide-open dining room make Brio feel more like a spa than an Italian restaurant; just replace all the good-for-you spa treatment with big slabs of steak and herb pasta drenched in butter.

Our personal trainer will scold us when he reads this, but we tried out enough menu items for two people to consume comfortably. If only we had the same dedication in the weight room.

We kicked things off with a Belini served as a frosty slush with a couple of frozen strawberries.

By this time we'd already loaded up on some crispy flatbread and sourdough, but we ordered the bruschetta with roasted red peppers just the same. It came topped with gooey cheese and threads of shredded basil drizzeled with balsamic vinegar.

For the main course we decided on a chicken pomodoro (pictured above). A crispy, fried chicken cutlet served over the afore mentioned herb pasta didn't last long.

Typical restaurants ask if you'd like to see the dessert menu. Perhaps Brio read our minds or else they just receive some sort of sick satisfaction at tempting us with workout result-reversing sweets, but before we knew it we had ordered a strawberry panacota.

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got a few thousand calories to lose...again.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan McNamara