Chestnut Hill: Brio

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman

In to Brio dining It's windy and hot, we want a patio and we've got one: it's Brio: stylish, vital, animated and vivacious; all this for lunch. Though where Brio lives in Chestnut Hill is referred to by some as the Wegman's mall, we call it the Brio mall. Roseanna and I have a table in the shade. Parking is free and there's lots of it. It's a chic setting with informality that goes with white napkins and polished service.

Brio salad Too early for drinks even for us. We're ordering a sliced steak salad: lettuce, tomato, Gorgonzola, mushrooms, candied pecans, and grilled tenderloin with horseradish and balsamic on the side. Crispy chicken salad (below) is mixed greens, sliced chicken treated with Romano, kale that's marinated, farro, tomato, cucumber, those same pecans and Gorgonzola with vinaigrette treated to a dose of herbs. What can you say about ice cold salads when it's 85 degrees and you're out on a patio, other than great? You could say, we should have done this sooner. Summer's nearly gone, and where have we been? Someone's cooked up the steak just for me. The chicken's got a mellow dressing and we've no idea what's in it but still. Soon there is nothing left, as in nothing for later.

Brio What else? You could have lobster bisque. There's an aptly named kale caesar. See appetizers of carpaccio and caprese, dips, bruschettas and pizza. Chef specials include chicken every way, ravioli, pappardelle, tilapia, shrimp and lasagna. Sandwiches: a burger and chicken panini. There are ten pastas, and this is still lunch, with fettucine, penne, ravioli, carbonara, angel hair, fra diavolo and sausage. We're no carbs however if you are not and if you do, do them here. There's a light menu, which I'm happy to say no one mentions to us. Four salads and each one's got the calories listed: 150 for chopped salad and all the way to 480 calories for tomato and mozzarella with lemon vinaigrette. Real food translates to tilapia with grilled vegetables (425) and grilled salmon (500) plus pasta pesto with chicken (550).

Dessert: dolchinos, so how much damage could they do, of creme brulee, cheesecake and gelato at least? What they label full-size (not eaters) take in layer cake, tiramisu, cheesecake and torte. We're tempted and here's what we do not have but you could, though district manager Ross Kirchner does a good job offering. Eat dessert first, maybe.

Brio Brio

Inside, it's airy and cozy at the same time. Booths seat six or eight. The bar is big enough for everyone you know and might want to hang out with. Private rooms work for small parties. Today, we guess Chestnut Hill lunchers worry about wind and hair so inside is busy with them's. Outside, we meet a fitness instructor from Equinox, the work harder, jump higher fitness place. She's come from three classes and no, we didn't really have to ask her what she does, if you know what I mean. I want to know what she orders. Inside, the kitchen's right where you can see it, if that's your thing; it's mine, someone else's kitchen is always a treat. I wonder if anyone's considered cooking on the terrace? It seems an apt setup and there looks to be space.

Brio kitchen Kirchner is some manager. As well as manager eagle eye, he pays crack attention to social media, all within seconds. Would that every place we visit did half as much. Living in the silence, not so much. Anyway, with salads we're impressed. We want to give the full Tuscan menu a workout and if we go light, we can think about skipping the gym.

Brio Tuscan Grille
200 Boylston Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
617. 795. 7150
© November 17, 2015 Roseanna Spizzirri is a good sport who knows wine. Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer who drinks wine. See more of their food adventures in Boston and Portsmouth at Corporate Edge and Twitter
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