In the January/February “Best of Bethesda” issue of the magazine, I chose Season 52’s fresh and simple plum tomato flatbread as the best appetizer of the year.

The chain restaurant unexpectedly wowed me, and apparently Bethesda Magazine readers as well, who voted it the year’s best new restaurant.

Now, BRIO Tuscan Grille, another upscale chain, opened late last month right across the street from Seasons 52 in North Bethesda Market, off Rockville Pike.

The BRAVO/BRIO Restaurant Group, based in Columbus, Ohio, operates almost 50 BRIO locations in 20 states.

Like Seasons 52, it features flatbreads on its menu.

Unlike Seasons 52, which promises that all menu items contain fewer than 500 calories, BRIO’s caloric counts are often more than double that. Seasons 52’s plum tomato flatbread, for example, has 300 calories; BRIO’s margherita flatbread weighs in at 930.

Despite the extra calories, it wasn’t three times as good.

Don’t get me wrong. With its thin, crispy crust showered with fresh basil strands and lots of creamy, fresh mozzarella, it was actually the best thing I tried at my first taste there.

The Chicken & Wild Rice Orzo Salad was a disappointment—under-dressed and bland, despite its promised lively ingredients (among them, cilantro, toasted almonds, creamy lemon vinaigrette). And the Pasta Alla Vodka, recommended by the waitress as one of the restaurant’s most popular pasta dishes, was one-note rich, with meager contributions of crispy pancetta, garlic and basil.

The décor lends a bit of faux Tuscany to Rockville Pike, with antique-y looking walls, urns, drapes swooping from the ceiling, archways and more.

Marilyn Hagerty, the 85-year-old Grand Forks Herald restaurant critic whose March 7 review of a North Dakota Olive Garden went viral last week, described that chain as “impressive” and “the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks.”

I don’t know what she might say about BRIO. But Bethesda isn’t Grand Forks.

20 Paseo Drive, North Bethesda, 240-221-2691.