DANG! It’s been a little over a month since my last review. I have been dieting since my last review … ok, I haven’t, so stop laughing and clean off the monitor from where you just spit your drink out all over it. I actually just took a break and had to focus on some of the other balls that I was juggling. But, I’m BACK! So, your 1 month vacation away from my blathering is over. A couple weeks ago, I got invited to attend the “soft opening” of Brio. Actually, my wife was invited and I was just her arm candy. Check out my Brio Restaurant Review video below:
4910 Big Island Drive
Jacksonville, FL. 32246
Location: It’s at the St. Johns Town Center located next to BlackFinn Grille. HUGE PARKING LOT, they have to have one of the largest dedicated parking lots of a restaurant I have seen.
Food: So, I went on what I think was their second night of their soft opening. Keep that in mind when reading the few “critiques” I have (not many) because it was probably just because they were just getting their feet wet and working out the kinks. I will go again in the future and see if I get different results and I will address them in a separate restaurant review. We started off the night with the Tuscan Stuffed Peppers (Menu description: Baby bell peppers stuffed with housemade sausage polenta, smoked Gouda and creamy Boursin. Baked until golden brown and topped with pesto breadcrumbs for $9.95). Normally this wouldn’t be something that I would order because a dish like this could either be a disaster or a new favorite. I don’t usually like to gamble that much but this was what was suggested so we went with it. This was a winner, I liked it. The bell peppers weren’t over cooked, there was a nice crispness to them, yet they weren’t over the top crisp. The smoked Gouda was a good choice and there was a nice kick to these, not overly spicy but a little hint of it. My wife concurred, these were pretty good and we would try these again. Up next, the wife went with the BRIO Crab and Shrimp Cakes (Menu description: Lump crab and Gulf shrimp cakes with roasted vegetables and creamy horseradish for $22.95) and I went with the Shrimp Verduta (Menu description: Angel hair tossed with shrimp, garlic, sundried tomatoes, roasted artichokes, Feta and spinach, topped with pesto bread crumbs for 18.95). The crab and shrimp cakes were the winner of these two dishes. The lump crab and shrimp was nice and fresh tasting and the creamy horseradish was awesome. Horseradish isn’t something I often think about trying with a dish but I’m glad they did it with this, it was a nice balance and kept the dish from being your usual sorta bland dish. Is it because we live by the ocean that some restaurants just get tired of trying with seafood and become complacent? Sorry about the mini-tangent. The Shrimp Verduta wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. The noodles were over cooked and slight mushy and I could barely taste the Feta. And if you have read my reviews, I love cheese and especially Feta. It kind tasted “blah”. I wasn’t impressed with this dish and would probably skip it. Too bad, because I love every single item in this dish, they just didn’t execute it that well. To finish the night off, we went a couple of the Dolchinos. These seem to be the current trend. The slightly larger than a shot glass type dessert serving. I have seen these at Seasons 52 and a few other restaurants as well. The price point for these are $2.99 unless you want the sampler, which is $11.99. We went with one Tiramisu (Lady fingers layered with coffee liqueur, mascarpone cheese and cocoa) and Milk Chocolate Caramel Cake (A decadent chocolate cake, layered with milk chocolate ganache, caramel, rich chocolate frosting and vanilla whipped cream). Both of these were a good way to end the evening. The favorite of the two was the Milk Chocolate Caramel Cake. It was gooey and rich. If you like chocolate, go with that one. I wanted to try the sampler but the wifey wasn’t up for that. Besides the complaint about the Shrimp Verduta, the only other food related complaint was the drink I ordered. I went with the Raspberry Mojito (I’m not seeing it on their “Bar Menu” on their website right now but it was offered to us at the table) and for the sake of honesty, that was the worst mojito I have ever had (the best ever was the Blueberry Mojito at Ruth’s Chris). I don’t know what they did wrong but I tasted no alcohol and all I could taste was carbonated water, I couldn’t even taste the raspberries. I barely drank it. My wife went with the Sangria Rosa (Sobieski Raspberry, fresh muddled pineapple and strawberry and Rosa Regale, served on the rocks for $5.00) and that was spot on, very good and refreshing. I ended up drinking hers Gotta love being married sometimes lol.
Extras: Like I said, HUGE parking lot which is refreshing when you are at the St. Johns Town Center. Also, I touched on the fact that it was their soft opening so take these next couple comments with a grain of salt because they have probably been all worked out by the time you go there if you haven’t been already. When you walk in, there were about 8 employees there to greet you… a little overwhelming. I noticed the noise level right away (not sure if they can fix this). It was pretty loud here, it reminded me of the Cheesecake Factory and how loud it can get there with the high ceilings and everything. This restaurant was HUGE too, lots of tables. And lastly, the only other thing which I KNOW was because they just opened, was that during our meal which lasted about an hour, we must have had 30 people (servers, managers and everyone else) stop by our table asking if we were ok. It was kind of over the top and disturbed the flow of our conversation and meal. I don’t hold them accountable for this because I’m sure this was just due to them opening.
– Nice menu, lots of options
– Staff is very attentive
– Good Italian option while at the Town Center
– Lots of parking
– It can get loud in the restaurant
– Staff is very attentive (see what I did there?)
– Wasn’t thrilled with Mojito