Breaking the chain: Chestnut Hill’s new standards in chain restaurants

WEKB_NoshShopEat_0131
Derek Kouyoumjian // DerekImage.com

Thanks to the polar vortex, it’s way too cold out there to get much exercise. This time of year our credit cards are getting a better workout than most of us, and nothing works up an appetite like a shopping spree. Chestnut Hill’s ever-expanding consumer causeway (home to The Mall, The Street), is slowly emerging as a destination, but two of its venues are already bustling. Meet Brio Tuscan Grille and Seasons 52, the next generation in upscale chain restaurants.

While Brio is an airy, marbled space and Seasons 52 is marked by low lighting and clean wooden lines, both possess an old-school elegance. These aren’t family playgrounds. Also, both share impeccable staff training, on the floor and in the kitchen. Not drilled, just efficient.

Still, food styling is what sets them apart from each other, as the names make clear: Brio is inspired by Tuscany, with steaks (though not Chianina beef!), seafood and pastas. On a simple level, the bruschetta is exemplary — a mushroom and Fontina variety is lightly crisped outside and tendered with truffle oil inside — finished with a pinot noir red onion chutney for a hint of agrodolce.

Seasons 52 is seasonally inspired, meaning weekly specials are curated by the farmers market. They’re also health-oriented: No bread and butter here, and no dish tops 475 calories. More importantly, sustainable farming crops up often on the menu. Truffle oil is a top note in an organic arugula salad with shaved Parmesan and sauteed mushrooms. Organic edamame seasoned with sea salt and powdered green tea is a winning match. Pan-roasted organic salmon with roasted shucked corn has a welcome autumnal feel. It seems indie dining standards have infiltrated chain restaurants.

If you go

Brio Tuscan Grille
200 Boylston St., Boston
Entrees: $13-$29
617-795-7150
brioitalian.com

Seasons 52
220 Boylston St., Boston
Entrees: $15-$33
617-558-1152
seasons52.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…