Brio Tuscan Grille in Houston's City Centre

Updated on April 23, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Dining room at Brio Tuscan Grille
Dining room at Brio Tuscan Grille | Source

City Centre Houston

On the west side of Houston, with Interstate 10 on the northern boundary and located just to the west of the Sam Houston Tollway, is a reinvention of what used to be called Town and Country Mall.

There are still some of the original stores and restaurants and even Randall's grocery store in this location. But the area has taken on a new life and upscale image since the mall was demolished some years ago.

New condominium living spaces now share the 37 acres of pedestrian-friendly grounds with many restaurants, businesses, and retail establishments. The luxurious Hotel Sorella accommodates travelers as well as Houstonians who wish to use the various amenities.

Reputedly, some 500 million dollars have been spent in making City Centre an attractive space to live, dine, shop, exercise, and enjoy life. Just walking the grounds with the splashing fountains, bamboo palms waving in the breezes, and attractive buildings and landscaping is a far cry from the old mall, sweet as that was at the time.

Outdoor dining and lounge area
Outdoor dining and lounge area | Source

Brio Tuscan Grille is a chain restaurant with multiple locations throughout the United States. It is indeed an attractive addition to the mix of other dining places in the City Centre and one in which my husband and I have enjoyed on numerous occasions.

To set the mood for this review, here is a video showing photos from Tuscany with beautiful music to accompany it sung by a tenor.

Salads Offerings

The salads are all worth a try this restaurant. Some mixtures are entrée-sized, but even the Bistecca Insalata featured below is a hefty portion all on its own. It consisted of an entire half a head of iceberg lettuce with Gorgonzola, bacon, Roma tomatoes, and a creamy Parmesan dressing.

With a steak knife presented in the middle of the wedge, it is something that my husband and I would both enjoy savoring again in the future. One does not need to order much else as it is quite filling. You could perhaps share an appetizer or a bruschetta sampler as we did on one particular visit.

On another visit, my husband enjoyed his Romano Crusted Chicken Salad. It was served with chopped hard-boiled egg, bacon, tomatoes, green onions, cucumber, and a creamy Parmesan dressing.

I ordered the Grilled Salmon Salad, and it was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Roma tomatoes, asparagus cooked al dente, Feta cheese, the tiniest shoestring potatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing adorned the fillet of salmon. I would definitely order that salad again!

The Tuscan Harvest Salad was the very first entrée salad that I tried. It is a delightful mixture of mixed greens tossed with grilled chicken, mushrooms, bacon, almonds, Gorgonzola cheese, apples, dried cranberries, crispy lavash (which is an unleavened flatbread), and dressed with Italian dressing.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bistecca InsalataRomano Crusted Chicken SaladGrilled Salmon Salad Tuscan Harvest Salad
Bistecca Insalata
Bistecca Insalata | Source
Romano Crusted Chicken Salad
Romano Crusted Chicken Salad | Source
Grilled Salmon Salad
Grilled Salmon Salad | Source
Tuscan Harvest Salad
Tuscan Harvest Salad | Source

Restaurant Photos

The interior of Brio's is warm and welcoming, as you can see from the photos shown below. Much thought was given to the rustic design and furnishings. Tuscan colors are generally earth-toned with warm-colored accent pieces. The walls were all textured, and there is much use of tile flooring. Iron accents and porcelain pieces were used to embellish individual spaces.

The artwork framed and displayed on the walls at Brio Tuscan Grille makes one think of Roman times with ancient buildings, columns, city gates, and other sites. Drawings showing faces and curves of the human body are reminiscent of artists such as what Michelangelo and others would have created in their day and time.

One place that we have not yet chosen to dine is on the outside covered patio area or the umbrella tables on the outside of Brio at the front entrance.

The lounge area looks inviting, and we have seen many people enjoying those spaces while sipping on a libation or enjoying a snack or full meal. Overhead fans keep the air circulating, and indoor-outdoor fabric offers the look of sumptuous drapery framing the picturesque street scenes outside at City Centre. Potted palm trees add to the overall ambiance of these outdoor areas at the restaurant.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Reception areaBar area Tables near front window in main dining room Fire kept burning in the open kitchen Pottery used as decor Decorative artWall art Wall art Art displayed on walls Wall art
Reception area
Reception area | Source
Bar area
Bar area | Source
Tables near front window in main dining room
Tables near front window in main dining room | Source
Fire kept burning in the open kitchen
Fire kept burning in the open kitchen | Source
Pottery used as decor
Pottery used as decor | Source
Decorative art
Decorative art | Source
Wall art
Wall art | Source
Wall art
Wall art | Source
Art displayed on walls
Art displayed on walls | Source
Wall art
Wall art | Source

Below is a video showing more of what Tuscany looks like in photos.

Chandeliers

The chandeliers at Brio's are definitely distinctive and give a warm glow to the room.

Swathes of draped cloth from a wrought iron medallion are attached to other ceiling points with the Tuscan styled chandeliers overhead. It makes it impossible not to enjoy the visual aspect of each room from top to bottom.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View of chandeliers in dining room Dining room view Chandelier
View of chandeliers in dining room
View of chandeliers in dining room | Source
Dining room view
Dining room view | Source
Chandelier
Chandelier | Source

Sunday Brunch

Okay, now you readers have an idea of the décor and ambiance at Brio's, but I am sure you would like to hear more about the food. Am I correct?

We were once treated to a Sunday brunch there by a friend. Our friend had ordered the Frittata Al Forno, and she gave me a taste of it. Wow! It is something that I will definitely order at some time so that I can enjoy an entire meal of it. It consists of eggs, bacon, onions, spinach, artichokes, angel hair pasta, Fontina, and Parmesan cheese cream. Along-side of it on the plate was some fresh fruit nestled in greens.

The Eggs Oscar was my husband’s choice of entrée. It had two poached eggs alongside a crab and shrimp cake with potatoes, grilled asparagus, artichokes, spinach, and lemon butter topped off with Hollandaise. It was tasty (he also gave me a sample bite) but a bit rich for me to want an entire serving.

I had the Tuscan Harvest Salad that Sunday, which has already been described.

We shared a carafe of Bellinis and started our Sunday feast by sampling the delicious bread and seed encrusted flat-breads which are served to every table as a complimentary start to meals.

For those who may be unfamiliar with a Bellini—it is a drink that uses peach nectar combined with sparkling wine—generally a Prosecco. It is yummy! At Brio’s they serve it with crushed ice, which kept it nicely chilled the entire time we were sipping the drink.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Flatbread and delicious crusty breads served with each order.Frittata Al FornoEggs Oscar
Flatbread and delicious crusty breads served with each order.
Flatbread and delicious crusty breads served with each order. | Source
Frittata Al Forno
Frittata Al Forno | Source
Eggs Oscar
Eggs Oscar | Source

Bruschetta and Flatbreads

These seem to be one of the specialties at Brio's, and they offer various types. They range from some topped with BBQ flavoring to others having seafood or even toppings that would ordinarily top a pizza. All, of course, have combinations of unique ingredients, making them special to this restaurant.

One day my husband and I decided to try their sampling of four house-made bruschettas. Eight pieces—two of each kind—were served at our table on a long plank.

All four were tasty, but our personal favorite was the roasted tomato and ricotta combination. It was delicious!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Brio’s Bruschetta QuattroSliced steak bruschetta Roasted tomato and ricotta bruschetta Roasted red pepper bruschetta Bruschetta with prosciutto and asparagus
Brio’s Bruschetta Quattro
Brio’s Bruschetta Quattro | Source
Sliced steak bruschetta
Sliced steak bruschetta | Source
Roasted tomato and ricotta bruschetta
Roasted tomato and ricotta bruschetta | Source
Roasted red pepper bruschetta
Roasted red pepper bruschetta | Source
Bruschetta with prosciutto and asparagus
Bruschetta with prosciutto and asparagus | Source

You can also see a few photos of other foods we have enjoyed at different times.
Calamari is fried to a crisp golden brown color and is still tender and delicious.
Lobster Bisque is on the menu and is a regular offering at Brio's. Other soup offerings vary depending upon the day.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Calamari Fritto MistoLobster BisqueClam Chowder
Calamari Fritto Misto
Calamari Fritto Misto | Source
Lobster Bisque
Lobster Bisque | Source
Clam Chowder
Clam Chowder | Source

Dreaming of Tuscany

By now, readers of this post certainly must know that we enjoy the meals and ambiance at Brio Tuscan Grille in City Centre, Houston. My husband sometime ago came back from a trip to Tuscany while on business in Italy. He raved about the scenery, food, and friendliness of the people.

City Centre does not have cobblestoned streets and tall cypress trees and rolling vineyard-covered hillsides. Still, it just might substitute for those who cannot visit Tuscany anytime soon.

Below is a video showing the Tuscan region in Italy by Rick Steves.

5 stars for Brio Tuscan Grille

Pilgrims

Tuscan reds and ochre hues

Olive greens and skies of blue

Sunlit valleys full of charm

Secluded homestead and hilltop farm

Over hills skim birds in flight

Aromas whet the appetite

Autumn rustle fills the air

Revealing grace of trees laid bare

Pathways meander through the vale

Inviting travelers its height to scale

Sunset rewards as evening ends

And pilgrims to the night descend

— Collette O'Mahony, The Soul in Words: A collection of Poetry & Verse

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

    Comments

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi James,

        I am happy for you that you have also gotten to enjoy the ambiance and food at this excellent restaurant chain.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        Brio Tuscan Grille is indeed a pretty place. The food is also excellent!

      • James A Watkins profile image

        James A Watkins 

        6 weeks ago from Chicago

        I enjoyed your sharp review of the fine Brio restaurant in Houston. Before I moved away from Orlando I was a regular there. The food is top notch and the ambience wonderful.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        6 weeks ago from UK

        This looks like a great place to dine. Your photos make me hungry. The lighting looks amazing.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        I am glad you enjoyed this review. Perhaps with luck you will have one of these up in your area someday.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        Just when I think you've highlighted the best place to eat, you come up with this. The food looks delicious and the décor is beautiful. I wouldn't know what to order, it all looks yummy.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        Brio Tuscan Grille is such a pretty place. We have always enjoyed the food and service there. I'm happy that you enjoyed the video.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        6 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        Peggy, This looks like a wonderful place to eat. The decor and food look fantastic in your pictures. I enjoyed the video also.

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