For lunch yesterday I was invited with a guest to try out the new BRAVO! Cucina Italiana restaurant at Briarwood Mall. They will be officially opening on Thursday, December 11.
My daughter was disappointed that she was in school and didn’t get to join me for lunch. Instead I brought my husband with me. We had some leftovers from our meal which I brought home for my daughter sample after school. She gave the leftovers rave reviews and can’t wait to try the food fresh and in person.
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Atmosphere
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana is a bright, airy restaurant with high ceilings, light colors, and an open kitchen.
The waiting area is small, so be prepared to wait in the bar or outside when they are crowded. They do accept reservations, so that can ease your wait times. Reservations may be made by phone (734-747-6200) or through Open Table. I love making reservations through Open Table since I can see what the restaurant’s availability is and I can make the reservation at any time of day or night.
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Menu
This was the first time that we have been to a BRAVO! Cucina Italiana. My husband and I each found several entrees that we were debating on the menu. He opted to try the Chicken Milanese (Romano-crusted chicken breast, Mozzarella, pomodoro sauce, herb pasta) while I opted for the Chicken & Pesto Spahettini (Grilled chicken, Mozzarella, spinach, tomatoes, pesto cream sauce). The lunch menu includes soups, salads, pastas, and pizzas. While we didn’t order form their Lighter Side of Rome menu, they offer an extensive selection of menu items containing under 600 calories. I really considered ordering the Spicy Scallop Marinara from the Lighter Side menu. In the end I was concerned that it would be too spicy and selected the Spaghettini.
As part of our complimentary visit, the manager brought us a complementary appetizer – the Crispy Mozzarella Ravioli. The ravioli are served with both a creamy horseradish and a pomodoro sauce. I preferred the pomodoro sauce with the ravioli, but I’m not generally a fan of horseradish. The appetizer selection was random by the manager. I saw other tables receive spinach dip or flatbread.
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We also started our meal with soup or salad. I chose Lobster Bisque which was delicious. My only complaint was that it was served in a fancy crock that had too many nooks in it to allow me to get every drop out of the bowl.
Meanwhile my husband opted for the Italian Wedding Soup. He enjoyed his soup, but did say it was not that hot. Salads were also an option instead of soup. While we did not order the salads, from the food that I saw passing us, the side salads were a generous size.
My husband enjoyed his Chicken Milanese. It was a lot like Chicken Parmesan, except the chicken was coated with Romano cheese. The serving size was large enough that he ate half of the entree and saved half for his lunch today.
My Chicken & Pesto Spaghettini was originally delivered without the chicken. I have to say it was so delicious it took me awhile to notice that the chicken was not in the dish. Grilled chicken is tossed along with the pasta, spinach, and tomatoes, so it was easy to mix them together myself once they brought me the grilled chicken strips.
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Kids Menu
Even though my daughter was not able to join us, I asked to see a Kids Menu. My husband and I were both impressed with the variety of the kids menu. The kids menu includes traditional “kids fare” like plain pasta, Mac & Cheese, and chicken fingers. It also includes more sophisticated options like Grilled Chicken or Fish, Chicken Parmesan, and lasagna. At 9 my daughter is increasingly not ordering from the kids menu because she wants more options than the kids menus offer or larger portions. I brought the BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Kids Menu home and my daughter found several potions that she would be willing to order. According to the manager that we talked with, the kids meal sizes are quite large.
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Prices
We found the prices at BRAVO! Cucina Italiana to be fairly competitive if not lower than other Italian restaurants in Ann Arbor. Our total lunch bill (minus the appetizer) was $63 including two glasses of wine ($19 total). My Chicken & Pesto Spaghettini was under $12 while my husband’s chicken Milanese was under $15. The soups were an added $4 each. We ordered from the lunch menu. It appears that the dinner menu has higher prices based on the takeout menu.
BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Experience
My husband and I both really enjoyed our lunch at BRAVO! The restaurant staff were friendly, the atmosphere was nice, and the food was really good.
However since yesterday was a trial at BRAVO!, a few hiccups were to be expected. Their computer systems went down which delayed delivery of our soup, appetizer, and even our wine. I was worried about whether we would finish our lunch in time for the class my husband was teaching or to pickup. Once the computers were functioning, the pace of our meal picked up and we were finished in plenty of time. The hiccups haven’t impacted our desire to return to BRAVO! Cucina Italiana.