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.
Reali's Fine Italian Cuisine's owner and chef, Jim Reali assembles meats, pastas, and sauces into hearty Italian creations using cooking skills first cultivated when he was 16 years old. Diners choose between upscale offerings such as veal and chicken parmigiana or call the waiter via foghorn to order seafood selections. Downpours of rich tomato sauce cascade over pastas, and, as meals unfold, eaters can repurpose pieces of penne as straws to sip white, red, and blush wines sourced from domestic and international vineyards.
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.
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).
At The Fire Brick Oven Pizza & Bar, chefs fling dough high into the air, spinning it into discs that will later transform into flatbreads and pizza in the kitchen's signature brick oven. Though pizzas are the chefs' specialty, they also create seafood dishes and prepare gluten-free pasta and desserts. Oven-fresh pizzas, grill-squeezed paninis, pasta, and family-style dining options are savored while diners lounge in black-leather chairs and admire the dining room's modern interior.
Visitors of the daily "Appy Hour" can sidle up to the glossy, gray-marble bar and munch on mussels paired with tuscan bread, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and pizzas such as the Wildfire Original, which is assembled from mozzarella and fresh basil. Lunch and dinner menus attack hunger with burgers, herb-crusted Atlantic salmon salad, pesto-chicken pizzas, and roasted filet mignon. Adventurous diners can tackle the signature "One Pound" meatball, which is smothered with mozzarella and baked in the oven.
Pauly Penta's Gourmet Italian Deli feeds hordes of hungry houseguests with a fresh menu of soups, sandwiches, grilled specialties, and bakery items forged with signature ingredient combinations and filler-free meats. Chefs adorn individual meals, party platters, and public sculptures with Boar's Head deli meats and natural, additive-free flavor. Italian-style cold-cut platters ($70) provide 15–20 couch referees with artfully arranged game-day fuel, and 12-inch stuffed calzones keep cheese hidden in warm, flaky crust ($40+). Chicken parmesan ($65) and baked penne ($50) simmer in 13"x9" entree platters, and stuffed mushrooms ($18.50/dozen) help to keep stomachs from interrupting broadcasts.