Pasta became a staple of Italian fare after Emperor Caligula famously elevated a plate of lasagna to the Roman Senate. Feast on political recipes with today's Groupon: for $29, you get $60 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at La Riviera Lounge in Matawan.
The recently redecorated La Riviera Lounge aims for a taste of true Italy, where its Italian-speaking staff serves up authentic seafood, chicken, and veal dishes from a robust menu. Kick off the evening by proposing marriage to a sailor with crispy rings of fried calamari ($9.95), then celebrate with a seafood feast of shrimp, scungilli, and octopus, bedecked with a lemon vinaigrette ($14.95). The chicken principessa gives tongues the royal treatment with mushrooms and fresh tomatoes cosseted by a cognac cream sauce ($20.95). Meanwhile, a plate of veal portuguese bridges land and sea with pan-seared veal and lump crab meat in a port-wine reduction, all resting on a foundation of pasta ($23.95). All entrees arrive to the table with a choice of soup or salad, along with refreshments from the full bar and a dashing gondolier that offers rides around the table in a wheelbarrow.