I will always volunteer as tribute to sample all the risotto.
Local travel writer Amy West got a bunch of Jax bloggers together to sample the spring menu at Brio Tuscan Grille. It was like a Sunday family dinner with TONS of dishes to share.
Brio is celebrating risotto. Because why not? They created four variations that range from buttery and traditional to a veggie base. The seasonal menu also features three artisanal cocktails and a dessert. I know you're thinking it because it is me, I only tried one cocktail. It was heartbreaking but your girl had to be clear-eyed for the Grammys later that night.
We started off with the cocktails and I ordered the Buillet Rosa. It's made with Bulleit Rye whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and 19 Crimes Red Blend.. I'm not normally a fan of whiskey's intensity but mixing it with the red blend and citrus made it feel like a slow burning heat. I drank the whole dang thing.
The chef brought out appetizers you can find on their regular menu: Beef Carpaccio, Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant and the Chef's Seasonal Bruschetta. The bruschetta was a bright mix of antipasto on fresh mozzarella and it was the first plate we emptied.
Risotto was, of course, the star of the meal. Let's talk about the portions first because OH MY GAWD. It was like when your mom tries to feed you because she thinks you're too skinny. You could order one risotto and it'll feed two people. Or it'll feed you twice.
This menu is definitely made for seafood lovers. Three out of four dishes feature seafood. The Shrimp Risotto and Broiled Lobster Tail was the table favorite. Juicy bits of shrimp in almost every bite and that fat lobster tail made everyone happy. The Sweet Potato & Chicken Risotto had a sweet earthiness between the sweet potato, asparagus and pine nuts. Fans of traditional risotto will most likely love the Salmon Risotto. The rice is mixed with mushrooms, red peppers, asparagus, basil and topped with a piece of grilled salmon.
My favorite was the Sea Scallop Risotto. I love the saltiness and texture of perfectly seared scallops. The flavor was very different from the rest of the dishes because the base was made with ratatouille vegetables (no, not the Disney mouse, it's more like a stew).
We almost ate ourselves into a food nap right at the table but this crew knew to save just enough space for dessert. The seasonal dessert is the Molten Chocolate Cake with mascarpone cream and white chocolate raspberry gelato. Y'all. I had a MOMENT with that gelato. For a few seconds, everything in life made sense. Even geometry. The tart raspberry swirl is perfection with the rich chocolate cake.
Brio is worth the small splurge for a date night or girls night out. Split a plate of risotto but order your own dessert. Sharing isn't always caring, okay?
Thanks to Brio at the Town Center for hosting us!