There’s nothing quite like a Girls Night Out – especially when it involves a viewing of the new Sex and the City movie and dinner beforehand at Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino:
From their Summer 2009 Newsletter on their website: A Letter from Eddie:
I am very excited and proud of Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino. Our customers can expect a unique blend of Cerino family recipes that Carrie cooked in her home and new recipes that reflect my personal culinary experience. Over the years I learned to always start with quality ingredients, to never take shortcuts in the kitchen and to always strive to create a memorable meal. But what makes us unique is my goal to teach our entire staff the same lessons I learned “growing up a Cerino” and making that part of our culture. We know that success is not simply serving delicious food, it is nurturing relationships and providing a consistently extraordinary dining experience.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations except for their gathering tables that seat more than 10 people. Knowing we had somewhere to be later in the evening, I arrived early to get a table for six. I was surprised to find that even on a Saturday night, the place wasn’t slammed.
It was a beautiful night in Seven Hills, so I asked if we could have a table on the patio. The hostess and a woman whom I believe was a manager accommodated my request, moving some of the patio furniture. This included removal of a large patio umbrella, so know that I was incredibly grateful to the staff for this.
Their menu had a great deal of options, so it was hard deciding what to choose:
A nice assortment of appetizers, salads, pasta entrees and pizzas was available. Based on some of their previous restaurants, I knew pizza was always a solid choice with the Cerino family, but decided to save that for a visit with Hans. (I noticed a nearby table with the Italian Blue Smoke pizza: balsamic infused bbq sauce, chicken, pancetta, caramelized onions, mozzarella, provolone cheese. That will DEFINITELY be ordered next time!)
To start I ordered a half size of the Tuscan Salad with romaine, field greens, tomatoes, cannellini beans, red onion, and Italian pancetta bacon. As usual, I asked for the dressing – balsamic vinaigrette – on the side.
This was one hefty side salad. I was grateful I was splitting an entrée with one of my girlfriends because I would have NEVER finished this salad and my main meal. The salad is normally served with a Tuscan ranch dressing. I think the ranch dressing would make the salad too heavy with the beans and bacon. I’m glad I selected the salad dressing that I did – the vinaigrette balanced the plate well. I questioned the authenticity of the “Italian pancetta bacon”, which seemed like any other bacon you would pick up at your local grocery. Overall, it was a nice salad option to start your meal.
With my salad, I tried some of the bread basket option: a warm piece of focaccia:
Looks amazing, right? Well, I have to admit, I was a tad bit disappointed after my first bite. The bread was freshly baked moments before arriving at the table and had a lovely texture. The crust had a nice balance of cheese, salt and pepper, but the main bulk of the focaccia was just average on taste. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a heavy piece of bread that evening, as I only had a few bites of the offering. I bet it would pair nicely with one of the sandwich options on their menu.
From the specials menu, a friend and I split the full order of the Pan Seared Scallops in brown butter served over Garlic Parmesan Whipped Cauliflower:
My first impression: “well, that looks like a hot mess”. I realize it’s hard to make pureed cauliflower look “organized”, but I feel the presentation of the dish could have benefited with some additional care in plating. The sea scallops were nicely prepared and benefited from the brown butter and cauliflower beneath them. Without those, the scallops were a bit lacking on seasoning. This was obviously done on purpose due to the explosive flavor of the rest of the plate. There was a nice but strong garlic flavoring to the cauliflower puree. I appreciated the small chunks of garlic in the puree. I felt just the right amount of Parmesan was used where the “cheese factor” wasn’t hitting you over the head. Overall, I was pleased with our entrée selection, as was my friend – we did finish off the entire plate.
My friends ordered everything from a cup of the soup of the day (black bean – interesting at an Italian restaurant), Caesar reggiano starter salads, the whole wheat penne Sorrento, a personal 9” cheese pizza and the rigatoni alla Bolognese. All of these dishes looked extremely tasty, as my friends assured me they were! That Bolognese rigatoni caught my eye – you know I’ll be ordering some meat sauce at a future visit!
LONG STORY SHORT: I was happy my fantastic friends put up with my “type A”/planner personality, and let me pick our dinner spot. We had a lovely meal on the porch that evening at Eddie’s Pizzeria Cerino. The staff was extremely helpful, from arrival to departure. We were well taken care of, on both the service and culinary fronts. I plan to return with family as you can’t help but want to share these dishes with the ones you love. While the area South of I-480 already has an abundance of Italian restaurants, I think this establishment will find its place to become a long-term, steadfast “go-to”.