I have to admit that I received the news that we were planning to have dinner at an Italian restaurant in tiny Cowan, Tennessee with a certain degree of skepticism. I really doubted that such a bump in the road village would have a decent place to eat, let alone a creditable Italian joint. I arrived with low expectations and resigned to go for pasta and meat sauce, something that almost anyone can make without screwing it up too badly.
Once seated in the tastefully decorated dining room, the four of us studied the rather limited menu and each chose one of the classic Italian offerings. I opted for the baked pasta carbonarra, while my companions each ordered a different dish. We were served hot homemade bread and headed to the extensive salad bar. Soon our entrees arrived and we were amazed to see the huge, steaming and savory smelling portions that were placed before us. My carbonarra was perfectly executed. The grilled chicken and bacon were expertly suspended in the custardy combination of eggs, cream and cheese while the dish itself was topped with crusty baked mozzarella. My first taste was pure heaven and things went uphill from there. The serving size exceeded my appetite before I had finished the first third of the dish. My dining companion had the same experience with her grilled Chicken Alla Divola, two large chicken breast grilled with lemon, garlic and black pepper.
It is rare to find Italian food prepared as if you were in Italy. The preparation, presentation and overall ambience of Sernicola’s reminded me of a café in an Italian village. Sernicola’s is truly in the middle of nowhere, but it is well worth the extra effort to get there. Plus we had enough “takee outee” for two more meals.