By MARGARET EVANS
Briciole Bistro & Bakery is flourishing at 1281 Ribaut Road, continuing a long tradition of serving Italian food in the space recently occupied by Bella Napoli, and before that, by Pizza Hut. (Okay, Italian-ish food.)
The Lunch Bunch rarely goes Italian, so this was quite an event! We also had two new tasters at the table – our new sales rep, Dawn, and Mike’s son Dylan.
The Antipasta menu is long and tempting, including items like Crostini, Calamari Fritti, Eggplant Rollatini, Mozzarella Sticks, Mussels, and more. We ordered up a round of Garlic Bread with cheese on top, and it couldn’t have been more satisfying.
The Lunch Menu features a selection of smaller entrees for $9.99, each served with a house salad. Offerings include Meatball Sliders, Fettucine Bolognese, Personal Pizzas and the like. The idea is to get in and out quickly – and affordably – which is great for working people.
Of course, we of The Island News Lunch Bunch are rarely in a hurry. For us, lunch is work, so we made use of the entire menu. You can, too. Briciole’s lunch menu is merely for your convenience. You can order from the dinner menu all day long.
Dawn had the Spaghetti Aglio Olio – spaghetti noodles topped with garlic sauce, lemon, parsley, evo and parmesan. She enjoyed her selection, saying “it has a little kick,” and noting the chunks of fresh garlic.
Betty orders eggplant whenever and wherever she can, so she went with the Eggplant Parmesan, which was particularly cheesy on top. If you like a high ratio of mozzarella to eggplant, this is the eggplant parm for you.
Mike loved his Spaghetti Marinara, saying, “If I ran out of noodles, I would eat this sauce with a spoon. That’s how good it is. Not sweet, not spicy, just very fresh.” He’d started with a bowl of Seafood Chowder – which he actually did eat with a spoon – and was equally enthusiastic.
Jeff’s Personal Pizza was a table favorite, featuring big chunks of sausage and zesty pepperoni on a truly remarkable crust.
“It’s just right,” he said, and those of us who sampled it concurred. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside – everything you want in a pizza crust.
Did I mention we had a teenage boy at the table? Briciole made it easy by including a Certified Angus Burger on the menu, complete with a side order of fries. With this feast before him and smart phone in hand, Dylan was all set.
I had the Summer Salad, arguably the most beautiful plate to arrive at the table, with its colorful, artfully arranged mix of seasonal fruits and vegetables. I was feeling quite virtuous nibbling on this yummy concoction as my friends stuffed themselves with carbs, but then …
You might have noticed at the top that Briciole is not just a bistro; it’s a bakery. In fact, Stacey Ragsdale – the restaurant’s new owner, along with her husband John – is a trained pastry chef. The bakery is a big part of this business.
The desserts featured that day were Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake with Citrus Butter Cream, a Mixed Berry Mousse, and Cannolis. We ordered one of each for the table, though we were already fairly stuffed. (As your humble food correspondents, we felt it was our duty.)
Had we known how large the servings would be, we might have gone with only one or two. As it stood, we were each able to try several bites of each dessert, and they were all knockouts – not a disappointment in the lot. The Tiramisu deserves to be singled out, however, since we all agreed – all six of us! – that it was the best tiramisu we’d ever tasted.
When we weren’t happily gorging ourselves, we had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Allen Mathers (top) – who has a Masters in culinary cuisine and 30 years’ experience cooking in Beaufort – and with John and Stacey Ragsdale (right), veteran restaurateurs who have energy and enthusiasm to spare. With their combined experience and ingenuity – and Stacey’s desserts! – we predict a long and happy life for Briciole Bistro & Bakery.
Briciole Bistro & Bakery
1281 Ribaut Road
Mon, Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Tue 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Wed 4 p.m.–9 p.m.
Fri, Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m.