The Tuscan Touch

Pedro Zuniga knows what it takes to operate a successful kitchen. The executive chef at Brio Tuscan Grille started as a dishwasher 15 years ago and his entry-level position helped him appreciate every job in the kitchen.

“I learned how to make everything from scratch: sauces, dressings, pizza dough and everything that goes with the entrees,” says Zuniga. “The key to a successful kitchen is quality, freshness, product consistency and, most importantly, understanding the guests.”

Brio offers a mix of Italian and Tuscan options in the heart of Newport on the Levee. The fusion restaurant serves Italian staples while presenting plates derived from Central Italy.

You can see the eclectic themes by peeking at the appetizer menu. The Bruschetta Quattro is a sampling of the classic grilled bread with either Chicken Florentine, roasted red pepper, fresh mozzarella, sliced steak or seasonal toppings.

For the avid pasta lover, Zuniga recommends the pasta Brio. It includes rigatoni with grilled chicken and sautéed mushrooms in a roasted red pepper cream sauce.

For the carnivore and traditional Tuscan food lover, there is the “bistecca” portion of the menu that includes steaks and filets. Choose from the artichoke crusted beef medallions or the 14-ounce strip steak that’s cooked to order.

Zuniga says Brio will introduce some new items to its menu, while enhancing other dishes. “Everything is centered around the guests and if you work in an environment where everyone has that mentality, it will be a successful restaurant,” says Zuniga.