what we ordered and what we thought:
1) summer squash soup- absolutely delicious. I'm a big soup fan. this is one of those soups I dream of blending the right amount of cream, water, spices, and squash. oya. dip your complimentary rustic bread into the streak of buttery oil swimming on the surface. yumm...
2) goat cheese crusted with roasted almond salad- a refreshing toss of garden greens and weeds. The marinated cherry was a surprise. the dressing was a bit light...which was good because I dislike salads drenched with heavy dressing creams.
3) the scallion, kale, and potato agnolotti- =( why? the pasta was slightly undercooked, I felt the knotty edges hardened from the freezer. The filling itself resembled chinese won-ton...the scallion was choppy and the texture and taste overwhelmed other veggies. scallion was a bad call on this invention.
4) butternut squash gnocchi- this was one of my favorite dish ever! instead of traditionally boiling the gnocchi, the chef pan-fried/stir-fried the gnocchi...lending it a bronze crispy shell to the meltingly soft innards of the gnocchi. the texture was absolutely surprising and the taste was perfect. I've decided to prepare all my gnocchi dishes this way. =)
5) toffee pudding- this was highly recommended by the server. I found it a bit disappointing. first of all...it aint' no pudding. It was basically a chocolate cake/brownie thing sitting atop a pool of overly sweet caramel/toffee/chocolate sauce (it was sooo sweet that my taste buds confused one sensation for another)...despite that, the scoop of toffee flavored gelato on the side was worth mentioning. I'd shell out 3 bucks for that scoop anytime.
6) Creme Brule- the taste of heaven! I had a pretty sheltered creme brule experience until now. Usually, I found creme brule either too watery, too sweet, or pudding-like. It had always been my last choice on the dessert menu. well well...the patisserie chef at Cafe Brio has it going with her innovations. The creme was indeed La Creme. It was rich, thick, and yielding at the same time. Her use of madagasgar vanilla bean authenticated the fragrance of pure deliciousness. The candied maple-colored top was flamed just right. With a well-measured tap, the top cracks. ahh...the look, the smell, and the taste were all there. can't ask for anything more.
The servers were nice as well. They've tried the dishes and know which ones are good. The wine pairing recommendations for different dishes were helpful was well.
The price was a bit on the heavier side. the totally deal came out to be $80. But it's worth it if you are sharing it with someone special.
Anyhoo, if you desire a defining dinning experience at Cafe Brio, order the soup, the gnocchi, and the cream brule. It's worth the mula.