Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fun Playing With Eddie's Pizzaria Cerino

Sorry to be gone so long - a series of personal issues, culminating with the surgical removal of a tooth last Friday, have made food a little less fun for me lately. But I am back in the proverbial blogging saddle, playing with food and writing about it again!

Saturday night, I joined about a dozen friends to sample the wares at Eddie's Pizzaria Cerino. On a street that is dominated by chains (Broadview Road in Seven Hills), it was a pleasure to drive up and see the size of the crowd at Cerino's, which is small and doesn't take reservations. We were advised, however, that this will change soon - the restaurant is expanding into the space next door, and will offer a full bar and additional seating shortly. This is good news for Seven Hills!

I don't know why I was so thirsty for a beer, but I was very pleased with the available choices, mostly on tap. This is a Pumpkin Ale from Akron's Thirsty Dog Brewery, rimmed with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Bob opted for the Great Lakes Oktoberfest.

Bud and Coors Light are among the domestic selections available for a gentle $2.75. There are also by-the-glass wines available for $4.50 and up.

Though the restaurant doesn't take reservations, it does allow parties of 8 or more to reserve the one large table in the room - we filled it and then some! Owner-Chef Eddie Cerino stopped by to introduce himself, and sent some complimentary off-the-menu flatbreads to the table:

I am not sure of exactly what this was - it had lovely salumi, and what seemed like a goat's cheese, and capers. The bread was tender and perfectly cooked, and the toppings tasty, though I thought this one was a little dry.

Flatbread Topped With Bolognese

I could have eaten a whole plate of this, it was so delicious. I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to have the Eggplant Parmesan with Bolognese Sauce for my entree.

But first - soups and salads. All of the soups, salads and pastas can be ordered in half sizes at incredibly gentle prices (and the full sizes are also very reasonably priced - the most expensive entree is only $16). The half salads I saw all looked wonderful, and the portions were very generous. Bob and I both decided to try a cup of soup. As we waited for the soups, fresh foccacia and seasoned olive oil appeared on the tables. Another tasty treat!

Italian Wedding Soup

My taste of Bob's soup was delightful - the meatball juicy and soft, the broth well flavored.

Seafood Chowder

Though the server said that this soup had clams, fish and shrimp, I didn't notice any shrimp (which was just fine with me) - the clams were fresh and tender, as was the whitefish. And even though I'm not normally a "dunker" - I really enjoyed the freshly crisped crouton in the soup.

EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA BOLOGNESE, Angel hair pasta and marinara

My entree. This massive plate was a mere $9.95. I was only able to eat about half of it; the rest became Sunday breakfast. I wasn't sure how the Bolognese would work with eggplant parm - but work it did. I'd eat this again any time!

Linguine with Clams and Pancetta

One of my dining companions enjoyed this off-menu special - but for my dental work, I'd have probably tried it also!

Butternut Squash Ravioli

A couple of folks at the table indulged in this lightly dressed, yet hearty fall treat - my taste was superb!

Half and Half Pizza

I believe that this was half Wild Mushroom (white sauce, mushrooms, portobello, shitake, oyster, roasted red peppers, ricotta salata, mozzarella and provolone cheese, Italian Parsley) and half something else - I don't want to guess! Bob also ordered pizza, which I neglected to photograph as a whole pie. Despite my dental work, I still wanted to try a slice:

SALUMI Pizza: red sauce, thin-sliced salumi, prosciutto ham, sun-dried tomato, mozzarella and asiago cheese

I am sorry to say that it was at the pizza where Chef Eddie lost me a little. While the flatbreads were beautifully cooked to chewy perfection on the oven floor - the pizzas were obviously cooked in pans, such that their bottoms didn't develop a nice crust. The dough was too thick for my taste (bearing in mind that my taste is for thin crust pizza; Eddie's makes a thin crust but no one at our table ordered it so I can't speak to it) and the dough didn't have that unctious "give" that the flatbread had. Still - the toppings were first rate and very enjoyable, so if you like Cleveland-style pizza, you will probably like the pizza here as well.

Only one person in our group had dessert - he requested "anything chocolate" - and it certainly looked like he was well rewarded, though I had already put the camera away.

Eddie's Pizzaria Cerino is a delightful, inexpensive place to enjoy a casual meal. Though ironically the pizza wasn't my favorite dish - there was plenty of other genuinely great food to play with. And for our table of 14, I think it is safe to say that a marvelous time was had by all!

Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino on Urbanspoon

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