Monday, February 23, 2009

Brio Restaurant - New York, NY

137 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10021, 212-980-2300,

Located slightly off the avenue, Brio offers a little side-street peace in the middle of a busy shopping area and their outdoor tables are appealing without the avenue noise and traffic. Once inside, though, the room is drab, undecorated and in need of some paint and sprucing up. Cain chair that look beautiful are uncomfortable and we found it odd that they don't open for Sunday brunch until Noon. Worst of all, though, is the slow and indifferent service, with waiters more interested in talking to each other than addressing their customers.

Despite all this, the food was good, the weekend prix fixe brunch is a bargain and the bloody Mary's were generous. The price includes a drink, a choice of salad or tasty soup and a delicious entree. Their take on eggs Benedict and tomato frittata are exceptionally good and the dessert menu offers many tempting choices. While the molten chocolate souffle was a bit over-cooked, the homemade millefoglie was scrumptious.

A coat of paint for the room and some training for the staff could quickly turn this into a regular haunt. But perhaps they have little incentive to improve. With generous drinks, tasty food and reasonable prices, the restaurant quickly filled and tables turned. For us, though, New York offers too many options to return to Brio in the near future.

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