Cerami’s Italian Restaurant
I have to say, first of all, that Cerami’s (5417 Hwy 25/Lakewood Dr, Flowood) does not make its own pasta (with a few exceptions). So I would understand if you stopped reading now, or scoffed at all of the positive things I am about to write. But do note that they have plans to start making all their pasta in-house, once they have set aside a section of the restaurant to install their pasta-making machines. Also note that Cerami’s is adorable, friendly, and quite tasty despite the pasta issue.
One of the best things about Cerami’s is the atmosphere, so I regret that I was unable to take any photos inside (there was no way I could have done it subtly), but I can only hope that the lack of photos will make you curious enough to check it out yourself. The interior is fairly large, with two open rooms and a bar area, yet still manages to be cozy. There are plenty of tchotchkes around, and the overall feel is somehow both extraordinarily cheesy and warmly quaint at the same time.
One of the first things I noticed about the menu was that the entrees come with garlic bread and the “salad wagon.” Salad bars are often unappetizing enough, and a “salad wagon” made me think of some sort of Western-themed Ruby Tuesday’s (not in a good way). But as it turned out, the salad wagon was both charming and delicious. It was an old fashioned hot dog cart, complete with giant umbrella, that held lettuce, two dressings (homemade, I heard an employee say), and three toppings. The toppings were olive salad, marinated onions, and crumbled gorgonzola; I got the first two, and both were quite good and made my overall salad experience much better than average.
For dinner (after a fresh batch of good garlic bread), I chose the Shrimp Cerami. It was a white wine cream sauce, artichokes, capers, mushrooms, and plenty of shrimp, all over angel hair pasta. I usually think pasta and cream sauce dishes are tasty (it is cream, after all), but they are often unexciting and heavy. This one definitely tasted good, and it was also a bit more delicate than most. The artichokes and capers added a great tang—I found that including some artichoke in every bite (there was plenty of it) perfectly balanced out the richness of the sauce.
Cerami’s also offers a full bar; if you sit there, you will be treated to plenty of fun family dynamics between Mr. Cerami and his staff, several of whom are his children. All of them are extremely welcoming to customers, and chatty without being overbearing.
Cerami’s is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and will be serving Sunday brunch starting this week. I can’t wait until the pasta machines are up and running, but I’m sure I will be back before then.