Monday, April 8, 2013

BRIO Tuscan Grill - The Falls

Let's face it. Kendall is not known as the dining Mecca of Miami. This is why most people who live in the west side end up having to fill that gas tank up, put the pedal to the metal and head east for some good eats.

However, things have been looking up lately. There's a new Italian kid in the neighborhood that is causing quite a stir. Many of you may be familiar with the restaurant, since there are a few already in South Florida, but this baby is the first one in Miami-Dade. Say hello to BRIO Tuscan Grille, located at 8888 SW 136th Street, in The Falls Shopping Center. What does BRIO stand for, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. BRIO stands for vivacious and lively, and the name fits the bill. Having been open a little less than a month, it's quickly becoming the go-to place for delicious food and great cocktails.

When you think of a restaurant in a shopping center, you may think, "OK, I have a new place to stop in for a bite when I'm doing the shopping thing."  BRIO is so much more! I had never eaten at one of their restaurants, but when I stepped into BRIO at The Falls, I was very impressed. Imagine enjoying authentic Northern Italian cuisine in a picturesque Tuscan villa with a hint of Miami flair. It is very spacious, offering indoor seating and al fresco dining in an Italian-style terrace complete with an outdoor fireplace. The ambiance exudes subtle elegance with a comfortable feel, featuring large wrought-iron chandeliers, arched colonnades and hand-crafted Italian mosaics.

With Executive Chef Rojelio Fernandez
The Executive Chef, Rojelio Fernandez, is very passionate about what he does and it shows not just in the flavor of his cuisine, but in his attention to detail. With over 10 years experience serving at the helm of kitchens in popular restaurants across the country, Chef Fernandez brings his philosophy of putting "your heart into your food and love what you do" into his delectable creations. Sit with Michael McClung, manager at BRIO for a few minutes and watch his eyes light up as he tells you about the cocktails. You'll never want to leave. There seems to be a feel good vibe emanating from everyone at BRIO, and it's contagious.

Cheers from Manager Michael McClung

Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant
Beef Carpaccio
The food is spectacular and the prices are very affordable. Let me start by recommending their Tuscan Tasters; happy hour deals that are, how should I say it, "the bomb"?  Dishes like the Beef Carpaccio, (a tantalizing delight served with field greens, capers, mustard aioli and Parmigiano-Reggiano) and the Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant (Pan seared shrimp with Romano crusted eggplant and a black pepper cream sauce that is to die for) come in what they call happy hour portions (and I call huge) for just $3.95. The Tuscan Tasters menu includes about another eight dishes just as scrumptious for the same price. Now imagine accompanying these dishes with $5.00 cocktails, like the Sangria Rosa, Strawberry Mojito and White Peach Sangria; all unbelievably good. You want the perfect night? Start with their first round offered Monday-Friday from 3:00-6:30 p.m. and then come back for the late night session available on Monday-Thursday from 9:00 p.m. to Close. You can't go wrong with that.

White Peach Sangria and Sangria Rosa

BRIO's Bruschetta Quattro
Chef Fernandez and his famous
Pasta Alla Vodka
Other dishes that blew me away from their regular menu were BRIO's Bruschetta Quattro, a sampling of their four housemade bruschettas and the Chef's personal favorite dish, Pasta Alla Vodka, a delicate ricotta filled handmade pasta, bathed with a spicy tomato Parmesan cream sauce and topped with pancetta, garlic and basil.

I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into this baby

Pasta Pesto
Shrimp Mediterranean
If you're watching your figure for the beach season, BRIO has a Lighter Side of Tuscany menu where dishes average 500 calories. Personally, I fell in love with the Pasta Pesto, consisting of Angel hair pasta tossed with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers, Feta and Spinach. There is also a Shrimp Mediterranean, prepared with spicy grilled jumbo shrimp on a bed of orzo and farro pilaf, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach, Feta cheese and pesto vinaigrette that will make you think you have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Buon Apetito!
What can I tell you? I'm smitten! But instead of just reading about it, join me as together we learn a little bit more about the BRIO culture. Click on the video Adventures at BRIO Tuscan Grille.

Thank you BRIO for bringing an authentic and worthwhile Italian dining experience to the Kendall area. This is one West Side Story that has a happy ending. For more information, you can contact them at 305 234-0012 of visit them online at

Brio Tuscan Grille on Urbanspoon

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