Enjoying Davio’s Awaken 180° Dinner

I love a good steakhouse. Give me a linen tablecloth, prime cuts of meat and a dessert cart and I’m happy. I admit it’s an indulgence, because the food is often quite rich and if I ate it everyday I wouldn’t be in the best of health. But what if I could be? What if could eat a full, delicious steakhouse meal that was also healthy? Actually, I could and I did. Recently, I was invited to Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse to sample their Awaken 180° dinner menu and had a delicious meal that just happened to be good for me.

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse has been a Boston institution for over 30 years. Recently, the restaurant decided to venture west opening its first California location in Irvine. Located just off the 405 freeway in a business district it’s both the perfect spot for a power lunch or an intimate dinner. The traditional menu contains an array of both Italian and steakhouse favorites that are sure to please any palate but in a non traditional twist Davio’s offers two alternate menus. One is gluten-free (which would be perfect for my pal Mary) and the other is the Awaken 180° which emphasizes healthier options (for instance no sugar is added to vinaigrettes, all fish and vegetables are steamed or grilled with olive oil and all entrees have 6-8 ounces of protein and 2 cups of vegetables). I opted for the latter and was immediately impressed by the vast array of appetizers, entrees and side dishes that were available.

I decided to start with the Tuna Tartare which features avocado and soy mustard. Beautifully presented I was immediately impressed by its size and found it to be perfect for sharing. Both the tuna and avocado were fresh and flavorful and proved to be the perfect way to start my meal.

Before we get to the entree let’s pause for a drink. I have to say I was so excited to find cocktails on the Awaken 180° menu. Don’t get me wrong – I’m no lush but when I go to a steakhouse I like to treat myself to a good drink. Luckily, Davio’s offers a variety of light alcoholic beverages. I enjoyed a Cucumber Cooler which features vodka, fresh cucumber and seltzer. It was wonderfully refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to my meal.

When it was time for the entree I had a hard time deciding between such tempting choices as Oven Roasted Chicken with Summer Squash or Pan Seared Salmon with Cucumber Tomato Salad. I ultimately decided on the 8oz Prime Flat Iron Steak with Crispy Wild Mushrooms and Broccoli Rabe. When it arrived I immediately was struck by how beautiful and perfectly cooked everything looked and when I took my first bite I knew I made the right choice. It was absolutely delicious. The steak was rich and tender, the mushrooms were caramelized perfectly and filled with flavor and the broccoli rabe was al dente and fresh. I was completely blown away.

Confession time. The Awaken 180° menu does include dessert but it’s simply sorbet. So I decided that since I had a healthy appetizer and entree it was ok if I indulged a little with dessert from their traditional menu. I opted for the Mascarpone Cheesecake with Caramelized Apples and Pineapples and I don’t regret it. I t was out of this world delicious and the perfect ending to an already wonderful meal. Sometimes you just have to give in.

This was my first visit to Davio’s and I was thoroughly impressed. My server Bree was wonderfully kind and personable, the location was beautiful and the food was absolutely delicious and healthy! The Awaken 180° menu certainly impressed me and I look forward to ordering from it again.