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
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.