Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pasta Imperfect

Last week, I visited a new restaurant on 291 headed out toward Cherrydale. There is a new shopping center being finished that includes a Japanese hibachi grill and a "Mex-Mex" place. The eatery I visited is called Brioso Fresh Pasta, with a "next door" wine bar named Brioso Vino. They were surprisingly busy for a Monday evening dinner. They have an interesting system that has a few details to work out as they experience growing pains.
The plan is to order at the counter as you enter, then find your own seat. I waited almost 10 minutes in line to order, some of that time being spent outside and in the open doorway because there is very little waiting area around the front counter. That was fine for the balmy, breezy evening we were enjoying, but definitely won't work in wet, cold, or hot and muggy weather.
The wait time did give me a chance to look over the menu. With their system, you choose a pasta and a sauce from a generous list of each. Their pastas are hand made. Sauce and pasta are priced at $5 each, so a complete dish is $10, with appetizers and desserts priced in the same range.
When I got to the counter, I ordered the day's special ravioli, but they were out. My second choice was spinach Gemelli, a twisty pasta (pronounced jem-elli), with their Aragosta sauce, a lobster/shallot cream sauce. I also ordered a sweet tea and a fresh strawberry crepe for dessert. My total cost before tip was about $17.
When you are done ordering, they give you a fresh pepper grinder to take to your table with you. The atmosphere and decor are very Italian--rustic wood tables with red chairs, warm mustard yellow on the walls, open windows with wooden shutters looking into the wine bar area. A half wall separates the kitchen and dining room. The room does tend to get loud as conversations start humming.
I found a seat, and a waittress quickly brought me a glass of ice water, a basket of rosemary sourdough bread with butter, and a wine bottle, minus the label, full of water. When my tea got to me, it had a peach flavor and was very watered down. I found out later that the unsweet tea has a peach flavor, so either I got unsweetened tea, or they made the sweet tea in the wrong urn. Either way, the tea was very watery.
I waited for about 20 minutes for my meal. When the food arrived, it came in a generous bowl and I could smell the lobster in the steam. I have never before found lobster I liked, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I encountered the small chunks in the sauce, as they were sweet and toothsome. Unfortunately, I searched in vain for shallots, or any other flavor, in the cream sauce. The pasta was as fresh as advertised. (They do have a gluten-free version of the Gemelli.)
The best part of the meal came in the form of a folded crepe stuffed with warm strawberries and topped with creme frache......and, oh, the wonderful warm and oozing surprise when I got a mouthful of melted semisweet chocolate that was hiding behind the strawberries! Hooray for chocolate!!
I am definitely going back to try more combinations, and ravioli is at the top of my list.
Overall: fun atmosphere, family-friendly.
Cost: reasonable to moderately expensive.
Dessert: definitely!
If you go, please share your experience with me.


  1. Can't wait to try it out! We ended up doing something else for our anniversary but I'll let you know how we like it when we finally go!

  2. We went last weekend and really enjoyed it! The kid's portion of the spaghetti was really adult sized (and for $3!) Loved the bruschetta and the free gelato for kids. :) Josh got a panini and was very happy with it and I got ravioli with some kind of sauce, can't remember what. All very good though!