Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less-delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at Brioso Fresh Pasta.
Brioso focuses on freshness with a menu brimming with house-made noodles, sauces, sandwiches, and salads. Like a cheetah in a tuxedo T-shirt, the restaurant adheres to a high-end fast-casual style, allowing diners to mix and match more than 10 different sauce options ($4–$5) with 20 varieties of pasta ($4–$6). Pair an assortment of spinach, egg, or whole-wheat noodles with sauces such as the salsiccia, sporting sausage and cheese; or the aragosta, a lobster cream concoction with shallots and sherry. Taste buds can also tango with a signature entree such as the zucca, which tucks pasta pillows filled with fluffy butternut squash into a spine-supportive bed of pomodoro and mascarpone cream sauce ($9).
Brioso's wine list makes vino available by the glass or bottle ($5–$23), and the eatery's domestic and imported beers include cold pours of Birra Moretti lager on draft ($3.50). Kids' meals ($3) come with complimentary house-made gelato—which is also available for grown-ups on the dessert menu ($4)—to prevent mutinies from itty-bitty buccaneers.
Brioso Fresh Pasta
The notion of “fast and casual” isn't new—most chain restaurants adhere to the concept, as do many conversations with abandoned sock puppets. However, at Brioso Fresh Pasta, efficient service merges with local and organic ingredients to bump "fast and casual" into the glow of a new spotlight. Italian dishes range from house-made pasta to fork-free paninis, all of which arrive at tables on the arms of friendly servers. Brioso’s culinary team also respects special dietary needs with gluten-free pastas and vegan menu options.