By Katie Stewart – 2014
As we pulled into the shopping center that houses Sorrento’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Statesville, Gina and I were skeptical. It was sandwiched between two small shops in a strip mall, and from the outside, it was not clear whether it was even a sit-down restaurant. Our skepticism changed when we walked inside to a nice, modestly decorated Italian restaurant. It had an authentic feel that one might not expect from a shopping center in Statesville, North Carolina.
The walls were decorated with paintings and the lighting was not too harsh or too dim. My favorite touch was the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking the view of the parking lot to give the illusion that we were not in a strip mall restaurant. It seemed that the owner knew that the location was not ideal, but was able to make up for it in atmospheric changes on the inside.
After we sat down, a young waiter with a heavy Italian accent greeted us and took our drink orders. After a long day at the Carolina Balloon Fest, we were starving and eager to eat some great Italian food. The meal began with a salad and bread. The balsamic vinaigrette was house-made and surprisingly flavorful. It was a great addition to the fresh lettuce and toppings. The menu was extensive. The pasta menu alone allowed you to choose the type of pasta with any dish you ordered. I decided on the Caprese with penne pasta, complete with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil. The sauce was mild and light, just how I like it. The cheese went well with the dish, blending into the tomato sauce to add a creamy texture to it. And of course fresh basil is a must in a Caprese dish. The pasta had just the right amount of each ingredient and the penne was perfectly al dente.
The service was prompt until the very end of our meal, when our waiter seemed to get busy with other tables. He offered us dessert – which we turned down because we both ate most of our pasta and plenty of bread – and then did not bring us our check for quite a while. Aside from that, we were both very pleased with our experience at Sorrento’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. The atmosphere was impressive and the food hit the spot after our long day of traveling.