To create their authentic Italian flavors, the cooks at LaCucina Restaurant don't import ingredients from Italy. Rather, they rely on locally sourced fixings, such as the little-neck clams they toss with handmade linguini and a choice of red or white clam sauce. Plenty of other dishes showcase seafood, too, including capellini topped with 1.25 pounds of lobster, only 103.75 pounds shy of qualifying for the high-school wrestling team.
The eatery's other old-world specialties center on different proteins, from veal coated in white-wine demi glace to chicken breast stuffed with lobster meat and dried cranberries. Served amidst touches of exposed brick and paintings of the old country, feasts can be complemented by reds and whites from LaCucina's extensive wine bar.
Bella’s chef Gio Calapi, a second-generation restaurant owner, mixes Old World wisdom with contemporary creativity to furnish a menu of authentic Italian eats. Diners can peruse first-course favorites such as the wild-mushroom-and-parmesan risotto ($8) before carrying on with a classic caprese salad ($9).
Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for more than 25 years, arranging a lineup of specialty pizzas and sides on a munificent menu. Patrons can bedeck dough disks with carnivorous confetti in the form of pepperoni, ham, spicy italian sausage, bacon, sausage, beef, or grilled chicken. Golden-voiced fresh vegetables make palates swoon with a jukebox's selection of green peppers, portobello mushrooms, roma tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, black olives, pineapple, banana peppers, and newly harvested 45s. Eaters can prod cooks with the click of a mouse, alerting them to special requests such as an extra layer of parmesan romano or the three-cheese blend of the asiago, fontina, and provolone. Like a popular club or an especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune place to stock up for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
The coal-fired oven at Rock N' Coal Pizza fires out Italian favorites that fuse flavors from both the Old World and the New. Chefs specialize in both classic Neapolitan pizzas—such as the shrimp and vodka sauce pie—as well as the more modern New York style pizza topped with toppings such as buffalo chicken. But guests don't have to stick to just modern or traditional. They can combine both styles with the menu's build-your-own-pizza option. Guests can choose to build their own prime beef burger, too, or select one of the chef's gourmet combination such as the bistro burger—a patty topped with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg.
In the massive main room, flatscreen televisions hang over booths casting a warm glow over meals and broadcasting the day's biggest games. The main room may be a destination for sports fans, but Rock N' Coal's private room gives guests a chance to celebrate special occasions or plan their next move in a rapidly escalating prank war.
At Aglia Ristorante, chef Sal's Old World Sicilian culinary roots trellis into a menu of traditional Italian cuisine. Diners wade into five-course waters with basil- and garlic-accented mozzarella slices and handmade chips tossed in rosemary truffle, barbecue, or sea-salt seasonings. The third-course garden salad temporarily diverts monstrous appetites as they await the main event, presented with deliciously difficult choices including delectable chicken, pork, fish, and steak dishes. Succulent chicken thighs slow-cooked in an herb-infused oil bolster the chicken confit, and a rolled pork loin stuffed with caramelized onions, spinach, and prosciutto fortifies the pork roulade more effectively than shredded polyester. As the meal winds down, guests can savor the final act of the edible libretto with a cannoli pastry and espresso.
Each dish that leaves executive chef Robert Hennemann’s kitchen is made from scratch. He ladles housemade sauce over breaded chicken breasts and puffs up ravioli with a hefty infusions of cheese. Servers cart platefuls of broiled scallops and house-cut sirloin to tables topped with lace cloths that can double as veils for impromptu weddings.