BRIO brings upscale touch to Christiana Mall


    On Wednesday the last of the restaurants in a new improved Christiana Mall opened . BRIO Tuscan Grille is part of a mid-sized Columbus, Ohio-based restaurant group. As the name indicates. BRIO offers Italian fare with a Tuscan flavor and cooking style, according to press materials.

    BRIO faces a tough job in carving out a niche as an  upscale restaurant at the mall. It will get an elegant neighbor next the Nordstrom store and its famous grand piano opens a short distance away.
    It’s early, but BRIO seems to be up to the task, based on the a training meal over the weekend.
    BRIO spent some serious money on an elegant decor. It is a white tablecloth restaurant that might seem a little out-of-place at the mall.
    But once seated, you forget where you are as you are greeted by staff wearing a crisp shirt and tie uniform.
    The food lived up to the upscale decor. The crab cake and steak are well worth the $20-plus price and attention was paid to the vegetables that accompanied the dishes. That’s often an afterthought at chain and even chef owned establishments, but not here.
    As for the Tuscan dishes, sampling them will require another visit. One nice touch is smaller desserts, a perfect touch after a big meal.
    The true test of BRIO will come when the hordes of shoppers descend on the mall and look for a place to dine.
    The out-of-town staff that helped train the Christiana crew will be gone and the staff will have to make sure that the food lives up to prices that on the upper end of the mid-priced category.
    If the chefs can focus on the details, like that vegetable medley, BRIO will do just fine.