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Dining with Woodene Merriman

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Past Reviews
Sharpsburg's Restaurant Row: CC's Cafe

Friday, November 24, 2000

By Woodene Merriman, Post-Gazette Dining Critic

Six years ago Anita Schaming, a self-taught chef, and Cyndy Charmo, who runs the front of the house, opened CC's in what looks like nothing more than a bar. Step inside, and it's a surprise -- a few booths and some tables in a clean, pleasant little dining room, cheerful waitresses delivering plates of fresh salmon encrusted with cashew sauce and Russian shrimp in a pink vodka sauce with artichokes and mushrooms.

C.C.'s Cafe has an unassuming exterior on Sharpsburg's Main Street. (Joyce Mendelsohn, Post-Gazette)

All dishes are made to order. Salads, with herbs and sun-dried tomatoes as well as the usual greens and tomato wedges, are tossed at table-side in big stainless steel bowls with homemade Italian dressing.

Pasta is homemade for the restaurant. (That includes tortellacci, a big cheese-filled pasta that will be on the new menu to be introduced Dec.1.) Thick slices of garlic bread are served piping hot and topped with seasoned crumbs. Baked potatoes are sliced almost through, and topped with oil and cheese. The frozen homemade Key lime pie is sweet and creamy and topped with whipped cream.

Schaming and Charmo remodeled the building, with help from a friend, Elvi Dillard, who now works with Schaming in the kitchen. Sometimes their dishes, like the shrimp scampi we had over black pepper linguine, could use another jolt of flavor. The shrimp were hard and tasteless. Sea scallops in fettuccine sauce with herbs, also over black pepper linguinecheck menu that night, were sweet and tender.

Crab bruschetta is a plate of six slices of a baguette, topped with crab and cheese, and it's very good. CC's Original Crab Cakes are broiled, not sauteed, and served with a mustard sauce. The soft sweet cakes fall apart at the touch of a fork. "The closest to the crab cakes at the Greenbrier that I've ever tasted," H.H. said. The man gets around.

One night a waiter was going around the room with a bottle, offering a free taste of Wolf Blass chardonnay and semillon wine from Australia. Smart move. We liked it and ordered two glasses, $4.95 each. So did several others.

Entrees, served with the salad and Italian bread, are in the $10-$19 range.

CC's Café
2218 Main Street, Sharpsburg
412-784-8338

Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; dinner, 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; full dinners are also served in the lounge until 10 p.m. Friday and 11 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.

The basics: American-Italian cuisine with emphasis on homemade pastas; small parking area alongside restaurant; seats 60; wheelchair accessible; children's menu; smoking permitted only in lounge; Visa cards; reservations only for six or more

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