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[PHX] Review of Brio, 14yr critic in the making

My family and I entered Brio, Tuscan Grille, to a friendly greeting from many members of the staff. We had the choice of sitting at a table or booth, without having to make reservations. The interior was very inviting, and had a very home feeling to it with many paintings, plants, and open viewing windows to the mall. Our waitress wore way too much perfume, which was distracting and very over-powering.
To start we were served a small basket of sourdough bread and parmesan flat bread. The menu was very well rounded, with over 30 different items to choose from. The kids menu was something you wouldn’t see at other chain restaurants, with their 5 choices of meals. Brio had a choice of 9 very different meals, and "Grande kids" for those kids that have a bigger appetite, and a build your own pizza with 9 different toppings, fresh from the brick oven. Also, you could choose from many different sides and salads! Not something you would expect on a kids menu.
We started with the roasted garlic, spinach and artichoke dip, which also came with the parmesan flat bread encrusted with herbs that went very well with the steaming hot dip. We also had the Brio chopped salad, with tomatoes, olives, onions, feta cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette, which had a very nice over-all taste.
For the main course I enjoyed the mushroom ravioli al forno, with an alfredo sauce, parmesan bread crumbs and fresh tomato chunks. It was placed in a very large bowl and
I had enough to have leftovers, a plus in my book. My father chose to have a gorgonzola encrusted filet, which you could also choose a strip steak. I had to snatch a bite from him; it was cooked perfectly at medium-rare. My mom had a grilled pork chop, and my sisters had spaghetti, and the other a grilled salmon. The adult meals had a side of potatoes and vegetables, which they were very generous with, and the kid’s meals were gigantic.
Brio at the Santan Mall, new to the area, is definitely somewhere my family will be returning in the near future. (This isn’t our first dining experience here.) As a kid, I would say that it is very kid -friendly, or where couples can go for a decent price dinners with leftovers :)

Jan 19, 2009
Smoketail in Southwest

[Phx] Restraunt Noca, 14 yr old food critic in the making

This is my third time dining in at the restaurant Noca. This experience cannot be explained with any word that I have yet to learn in my vocabulary.

We (my parents & I) chose to be seated at the chef's counter. I sat at the end, where I could get a good glance at what all the chefs were cooking in the kitchen. Being 14, i get alot of stares from the chefs, amazed at what I'm eating.

Before our meals we were served 3 different amuse bouches. The first we received was a homemade corned beef with a tiny rye bread toast. Second, was aa Poached Prawn with fresh grated wasabi and a ponzu jelly sauce, and third, special from the chef, an australian wagyu, the most amazing meat i have ever tried in my life.

Our family started with the Heirloom Baby Beet Salad, and the Roasted Sunchoke Soup. The Beet salad was elegant, with foam placed on the top, the beets, freshly cut. Then the soup, inside were three pieces of deep fried Foie Gras, wrapped in a Raviolini. The flavor burst in my mouth, steaming, amazing with the flavor of the sun choke.

Our second course, Duck Confit, and the Loster gnocci. The duck was something I would never have thought of eating, placed on top of a huckleberry waffle, smothered in syrup. (PS, my Mom is going to find this syrup - a bourbon barreled syrup out of Michigan) The lobster, fresh, with mushrooms and gnocci, perfect in flavor together.

Our main meal Duck Breast, and Braised Pork Tagliatelle. The duck, served with wild rice, pea tendrils, and a brandy cherry sauce, was cooked to perfection. During the meal. the chef, Chris, handed me a slice a truffle, which was jaw dropping, and I grudgingly had to share with the rest of the family, not something i wanted to do.

We finished off with yet another amuse bouche, a salted butter gelato. we ordered the doughnuts, with a delicous carmel sauce. We also ordered three different gelato: cherry, pistacho and salted butter. A great finish to an amazing, unforgetable meal, i hope to return soon :) Preferably for my birthday on February 11th, before my parents get to dine again for Valentine's Day.

Jan 10, 2009
Smoketail in Phoenix