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Great Kids Menu: Brio Tuscan Grille

The kids menu at this restaurant at Crabtree Valley Mall doesn't include just nuggets and fries on its kids menu, but a mini version of the adult offerings.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
My husband and I went on a quick lunch date the other week and found ourselves at Brio Tuscan Grille at Crabtree Valley Mall.

The upscale chain restaurant has locations across the country and is part of that newish restaurant row that includes Flemmings and McCormick & Schmick's on the Belk side of the Raleigh mall.

I was there without my kids, but was curious about the kids menu. I'm always on the lookout for kids menus that don't include the standard nuggets and fries or (my favorite) macaroni and cheese and fries. In my perfect world, a kids menu would just be a scaled down version of the adult one.

I loved the story in The New York Times the other day about Children's Day at the Four Seasons in New York where children eat for free at the posh hotel's Pool Room. There was no kids menu here. Instead the kids noshed on selections that ranged from sweet corn ravioli with prawns in summer truffle bouillon or beef tartare, according to the story. One girl complained nothing is ever good on kids menus, just "chicken nuggets and stuff."

I'm lucky enough to have a five-year-old who would agree with her.

You won't find beef tartare on the kids menu at Brio. And, sure, you'll still find chicken fingers and fries or buttered noodles (though both are on the menu).The kids menu offers other kid favorites too - pizza (with veggie toppings as an option); macaroni and cheese; grilled cheese; and burgers.

But unlike other kids menus, Brio doesn't stop there.

There's grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and veggie of the day. Or grilled chicken with the same sides. The Sides & Salads portion of the kids menu actually includes an "Insalata Bambino," a child-sized portion of chopped greens and tomatoes and a Junior Caesar Salad. Or you can just order the fresh veggie of the day and a side of mashed potatoes. Drink options include milk.

Unfortunately, those healthier options will set you back a bit more than the standard fare. Chicken fingers with fries (or mashed potatoes) is $4.95. But grilled salmon with mashed potatoes and vegetables is $7.95 from the kids menu. (That Insalata Bambino and the other sides are between $1.50 and $1.95).

Still, I'm just happy to see it on the menu.

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