#FoodieFriday Spotlight on @VivaceCharlotte – Where to Dine in #CharlotteNC #cltfood #SobeSavvyeats #italian

Many Thanks to Vivace Charlotte for hosting SobeSavvy.com for our #SobeSavvyEats Series and #FoodieFriday Feature

When I travel with my family, I know there is one type of cuisine where everyone can find something they love on the menu. Italian cuisine suits my daughter’s love for pizza, my husband’s passion for pasta and my craving for meat or seafood. During our recent trip to Charlotte, we worked up an appetite after our family fun day at Carowinds, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Vivace Italian restaurant located in the Midtown area of Charlotte, NC.

ENJOY DINNER WITH A VIEW

Vivace[yes, it rhymes with Versace] is an upscale modern take on an Italian Trattoria which traditionally isless formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. Upon entering this multi-leveled space, we were impressed by the beautiful wood and lighting. The layout featured bars on each floor and also a dining area. Upstairs they also have lounge chairs and tables on their patio, which offers breathtaking views of the Charlotte skyline.

COCKTAIL TIME

This trendy restaurant had a nice after work crowd of folks who opted for some drinks at the bar to end their week and start their weekend. Other patrons were smartly dressed to match the décor and ambiance.

My husband and I started with a two cocktails from their drink menu which includes wine and an impressive number of NC craft beers. Both of us are Gin fans so he ordered “The Summer Affair” which uses Hendricks Gin, his favorite. I opted for the “Botanico“, which I really enjoyed how refreshing this drink was with the use of cucumber and rosemary. Crafty, creative, classic cocktails can be found here at Vivace.

FAMILY FRIENDLY DINING + MENU

Is this restaurant family friendly? Yes!
Since we had our little foodie,#outandaboutAva with us, we opted for an early dinner. While on the surface this is not a “kids” type place, they do have a Bambini Menu. Our just turned 7 year old daughter ordered a cheese pizza, which came with fresh strawberries and Nutella for dipping.

For starters, I suggest their steamed PEI mussels because its perfect for sharing. It was served with crusty bread, which is essential for soaking up all the flavors in the broth!

For my dinner entrée,I ordered the Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes and a veal demi glace. I love lamb chops and thought the use of pistachios gave it a unique taste while the veal demi glace amped up the bold and savory flavor. The quality of the meat was superb and it was cooked to perfection.

My husband always says you judge an Italian restaurant by their gnocchi. So that’s what he went with. Vivace serves theirs with grilled chicken and asparagus tips. Luckily, I was able to procure a few of his disappearing gnocchi before they were gone. He
commented on how he could tell that unlike so many Italian restaurants that just have them sitting in warm water that these gnocchi were “dropped to order”.

After speaking with their chefs, they confirmed that indeed that was the case! In fact all their pasta is made in-house. And ingredients used to prepare their dishes focus on local/regional ingredients.

Our dining experience at Vivace was wonderful not only because our server was sweet and attentive but the food was great. I would recommend dining here because not only with you find traditional Italian eats but dishes that will also cater to some American likes.

The location and layout is beautiful and the restaurant’s atmosphere is unique. My husband mentioned that he was relieved that finally a spot’s style matched it’s substance.

Lil Miss Foodie aka #outandaboutAva and her Mom, Leslie/Founder of SobeSavvy.com bid arriverderci to Vivace, but look forward to coming back!

SobeSavvy Tip: Their private events manager, Blythe Bayrd informed me that they host numerous holiday parties with great package prices. The
schedule is filling up fast so book your companies or your own private event for the holiday season NOW.

HAVE YOU EVER DINED AT VIVACE BEFORE? WHAT IS YOUR GO TO CUISINE THAT SUITS YOUR FAMILY? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW 🍴

#VisitBrio for #ValentinesDay and enjoy delicious made-from scratch risotto dishes and more! @BrioItalian

Having spent time in Europe I realized quickly that risotto is to Italy what rice is to Asia! An Italian staple for centuries, risotto done right is now available at Brio Tuscan Grille for all! Located in Crabtree Valley Mall, this restaurant is a great place to enjoy lunch, bar bites, dinner or weekend brunch.

Per their press release, “It’s a Risotto Celebration” menu, available now until Sunday, March 25, 2018. This limited-time selection includes four chef-inspired risotto entrées, which all feature high-quality ingredients and are made from scratch. In addition, the menu includes three original cocktails, created to compliment BRIO’s new risotto dishes, and a decadent dessert.

The ‘It’s A Risotto Celebration’ Menu

I am a big fan of this restaurant because although a chain, it never feels like cookie cutter cuisine and this limited time only special should inspire you to make plans to dine there soon! We went at lunchtime and entered their bright and airy dining space. Only fresh good food comes out of their open kitchen and it shows. But before I get into how great the food is, let me tell you about their amazing cocktails!

Left to Right: Maple Bourbon Smash, Bulleit Rosa

There are three distinctive cocktails that are included on this special menu. My husband and I tried The Maple Bourbon Smash (Maker’s Mark, Monin Maple, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, dash of bitters, orange garnish) and Bulleit Rosa ( Bulleit Rye whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, 19 Crimes Red Blend, lemon twist garnish). They were the perfect start to what was to come.

Of their four risotto themed dishes, we had the following:

Shrimp Risotto & Broiled Lobster Tail: mushrooms, red peppers, asparagus, and basil

Sea Scallop Risotto: pan seared sea scallops, ratatouille vegetables, basil, and red peppers

Although hard to choose among four great dishes, we opted for the Sea Scallop Risotto and the Shrimp Risotto & Broiled Lobster Tail because we are seafood lovers. WOW is the word that comes to mind when speaking of these dishes. Risotto is all about the cooking method. Not cooked well enough and it is hard. Overcooking risotto and you end up with nothing but mush. Brio got it exactly right! The scallops were in a red sauce and the shrimp & lobster in a light oil sauce. We actually exchanged plates halfway through because neither of us could decide which one was best! Only YOU can be the judge, but the shrimp & lobster was my fave.

We ended lunch with the featured dessert, a molten chocolate cake with mascarpone cream, white chocolate raspberry gelato. It was as good as it looks too and wonderful to share with that special someone!

SobeSavvy Tip: BRIO Tuscan Grille’s tempting Valentine’s Day menu features this decadent dessert, along with enticing cocktails, delicious starters and entrees. This offer is available during lunch/dinner, Friday, Feb. 9 – Sunday, Feb.18.

Brio Tuscan Grille

4325 Glenwood Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27612

5 ways to Wine & Dine Your Valentine on #ValentinesDay @BrioItalian #myBrio NEW menu items

**DISCLAIMER** Thank you BRIO for sponsoring this post. Although the meal was on them, the opinions are 100% all me ! 

I have always loved BRIO Tuscan Grille for their high quality cuisine that has it’s foundation based on the cuisine from the Tuscany region of Italy. Having spent some time in Italy a few years back, I can attest that REAL Italian food is much more complex and nuanced than spaghetti & meatballs {although I like that dish also}. BRIO (means lively or full of life) has an atmosphere that I like to call casual elegance. Most of their ingredients are made in house, like their sauces, pasta, fresh whipped cream and baked bread.  

We sampled some dishes off of their limited time only “Flavorful Features” menu. Chef Mario, whom I met at the Raleigh, NC Crabtree Mall location, was very passionate and informative about the skill and love put into each dish. These recipes were created exclusively by the executive chefs at the company and lived up to the expectation of being flavorful!

In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to review these offerings in a unique way to assist our readers who are looking to impress their dates on that special night {or any other night of the week at BRIO’s Tuscan Grille.

Here are 5 ways to Wine &Dine your Valentine at BRIO’s ~

1. Order a unique cocktail, such as an Italian Mule.  If you love a classic mule cocktail, this one will not disappoint as it has a limomcello twist! Pucker Up!

2. If your date is wanting a light dinner or a healthier option, BRIO offers a variety of salads. Try this Kale Ceasar (the kale is marinated which gives the salad wonderful layers of flavor) or Grilled Salmon Salad (underneath those crispy shoestring potatoes lies a nice portion of salmon making this salad a meal all by itself).

3.Get a few appetizers that are not only great for sharing, but will allow you to feed your date!  We loved the Bruleed Parmesan Creme served with Balsamic roasted grapes and grilled ciabatta. Or spice things up with their Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant. You’re gonna want to put that black pepper cream sauce on everything! It’s that good. 

4. Seafood is a known aphrodisiac and BRIO offers a plethora of options for the seafood lover like Scallop Risotto and Crab Stuffed Shrimp and Lobster Tail.  The portion is sized to share but it is so fresh and delicious, you may not want to. The scallops were prepared to perfection and I appreciated the size as well as the taste. Loved the plating of their dishes as well. We eat with our eyes first they say. Just look how beautiful the lobster tail is! 

5. Impress your date by speaking Italian and ordering dolce {that is the Italian word for dessert !}. Try this Dolchino Trio: Creme Brulee, Caramel Mascarpone Cheesecake, Butterscotch Budino (which is Italian for pudding). This was a sweet ending to an amazing meal!

Make your reservations now because these flavorful features are only on the menu for a limited time thru 2/28/17. And for Valentine’s Day weekend,  Brio Tuscan Grille Crabtree Valley Mall is offering this two-course prix fixe menu special from 2/10/17 to 2/14/17:

If seafood isn’t your favorite, I highly recommend the Chicken Saltimboca. Three tender chicken breasts with provolone , fried sage, crispy pancetta and butternut squash risotto. Both tender and tasty , this entree is definitely not your average chicken dinner. 

Visit www.BrioItalian.com for a list of locations and to make reservations online.