Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brioso's Italian Restaurant

Brioso’s Italian Restaurant
Final Grade: B-
            Last weekend, my husband and I were invited out to dinner with some friends to catch up and enjoy dinner in a casual yet inviting atmosphere. After finding out that our first choice of locales was booked, we settled on Brioso’s. I had never been; however our pals had and spoke highly of the fare. 
            Located in an unassuming small strip mall along the northern side of Route 9 in Marlboro, Brioso’s is a large restaurant that has great décor and an upbeat vibe. The waiters were attentive and the space was filled with both small and large groups of patrons. The prices were quite reasonable and were a welcome sight to see along with their BYO policy.
            Having been to way too many Italian establishments over the years, I can pretty much recite what a menu will present. On a good note, this menu did offer some novelties- mozzarella in Carrozza with fried zucchini,  ravioli in a pistachio cream sauce, and veal scaloppine with black truffles topped with fontina cheese in a brandy sauce, to name a few. On the other hand though, staples such as fried calamari and fusilli Bolognese were both available and average.
            Cannellini beans in a room temperature tomato coating were placed on our table along with hearty Italian bread upon sitting. The beans were seasoned well and the bread made for a great accompaniment.  We decided to go “old school” and order the fried calamari for an appetizer. The ringlets came out piping hot and coated lightly in a basic flour breading. They were juicy yet bland as I found myself enjoying more of the marinara when eating.  All in all though, I have suffered through worse in that department so I commend the chefs for doing a nice job.
            Dinners were well-received; however one dish came out wrong and had to be re-ordered. This made for an awkward, should we wait and eat, feeling which I do not enjoy. While we waiting for the missing dish, we each shared. The Cavatelli Contadina:
sausage, broccoli, & sundried tomatoes with fresh tomato was simple and satisfying. The broccoli was crisp and forked well with soft cavatelli. The Fettuccine Verdi Mare Monti:
spinach fettuccine with shrimp, asparagus, olives, fresh tomato,garlic & oil was tasty but was marred by too heavy of an olive flavor. Fusilli Bolognese was hearty and vibrant with color and freshness. I think the dish needed more sauce as the pasta was a tad dry for my liking. Lastly, the Pollo Saporito: pieces of chicken topped with speck (smoked prosciutto), radicchio, zucchini, smoked provolone cheese, and cognac sauce, was odd. Odd because the chicken pieces were long tenders and all the ingredients didn’t form a cohesive dish. It seemed like a plate of great ingredients coincidentally on one plate.

            Overall, Brioso’s, which has another location in Staten Island, will continue to do well in our Italian restaurant loving community. Not surprising though; they serve up good dishes that are both innovative yet traditional and maintain an admirable atmosphere that people seem comfortable in. With a few tweaks to their dishes and more time to develop as a restaurant, I predict their success lasting.
            Brioso’s can be found at 184 Route 9 North, Marlboro, NJ 07726.

Total score 17/25
Final Grade: B-

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?

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