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BRIO Tuscan Grille - Another Macaroni Grille???

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What a beautiful place--just too bad my food this evening wasnt as beautiful. Brand new at Internaitonal Plaza's BayStreet, they did a great job renovating the old 'pizza' place that used to be here. Ample outdoor covered dining, white curtains, a nice large bar that extends from inside to outside...HUGE high ceilings, looked very 'Cheesecake Factory" like with a bit of Tuscany thrown in...ok, now onto the food...we were greeted by very friendly hostesses, and the service was imepccable, obviously these servers(very very corporate, chain like, almost like robots, making sure they dont forget to upsell anything, explaining the menu, etc.)..gotta love the corporate chains..ugh!
OK, now the food...started with a 9.95 glass of Savignon Blanc, a seasonla special, excellent...onto the Calamari as an appetizer, fried calamari, with fried pepper slices, with two types of dipping sauces...nothing out of the ordinary, typical. Then the salads(which came out as we were not even half way thru the appetizer-rushed)..chop salad was drenched in dressing and more like 'ripped aprt in small pieces' rather than chopped, tasty dressing, and a typical ceaser salad. And now entrees...the artichoke crusted Beef medallions--served meduim rare there were three 2oz medallions of beef, tender and delicious, and also the Veal Marsalla--a wreck, very overcooked marsalla, the coating on the veal was soggy, and drenched in too much Marsala sauce..it was a tasty sauce, with lots of mushrooms. Each dinner came with a side of roasted potatos(maybe a 1/2 cup), and a very minute amount of vegetables...i couldnt even tell what the veges were, some thin strips of zucchini skins, a few pieces of carrot which were very hard and raw, with skins left on the carrot(to give it a rustic look??), and a slimy red pepper...not good!!!
All this came to about $100.00...way over priced for what we got...so here is how I see this place...they will capture the shoppers at Intl Plaza, tourist flocking to INtl Plaza BayStreet, and after work happy hour at the very cool, and chic bar that opens up to outside...but it seems to me like just another chain, an overpriced Macaroni Grille, although i like the Macaroni Grille more than I did BRIO on this trip.

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  1. By the way, if you do a search on facebook, there is a $10 off coupon you can use until 11/15/09.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rshally

      Yeah, this place is very..."Meh". I gave it a try during one of their free training dinners. The best thing about it was that they kept bringing us free food. It wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't good. I only went because it was free. With the exception of a quick snack and sangria at the Carrabba's bar from time to time, I make it a point to patronize locally owned and operated establishments. We needed a Brio in this town like a hole in the head.

    2. is this a double post? Brio = barrrrrrrrrf.

      Can we stop reviewing chain restaurants on a foodie forum? :(

      5 Replies
      1. re: askdrtodd

        Since it is new and the first one in the area the OP may not have known it was a chain. I am happy for the review since I shop at International Mall. Be it chain or not.

        1. re: askdrtodd

          Whether its a chain or not, people need to know before they go!! Isnt that what this site is all about?? BRIO is NEW to the Tampa area, ive never heard of it before.

          1. re: rshally

            I hadn't heard of it either. It gets irritating to me when people slam chain restaurants. I try to go to mainly independent restaurants but I occasionally enjoy a trip to Carrabba's, or God forbid, Cheesecake Factory ;-)

            1. re: rhnault

              You're right, I'm sorry I was being unkind. I just have it out for chains haha. Actually there are dishes at cheesecake (Jamaican black pepper shrimp, thai wraps) I like!

              Sorry about that.

          2. re: askdrtodd

            it's all good. If it's near me, i'd like to know about it. Not that I'd go...

          3. The original comment has been removed