When Pangaea—the earth's greatest rock supergroup—broke up, many fans blamed it on the high-heeled wiles of Europe's inseparable girlfriend, Italia. Discover a sweeter side to the globe's Yoko with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Italian cuisine at Sam's Ristorante, with locations in Rockford and Machesney Park.
Sam's Ristorante slings a menu of varied victuals infused with flavors from the Old World. Taste buds can start by toppling the Hellenistic hierarchy of a greek salad, unraveling its romaine lettuce infrastructure and triumvirate of feta cheese, olives, and red onions ($7.95). Entrees are made fresh to order and include veal piccata, a sauté of skinny-sliced veal, green onions, mushrooms and lemon-caper sauce ($14.95), as well as chicken saltimbocca, featuring a half-pound of chicken snuggled with prosciutto, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese atop a bed of fettuccine ($13.95). Diners can also peruse a list of specialty pies ($12.50–$23.60), such as Gino's pizza, a flattened food pyramid of cheese, eggplant, mushrooms, basil, and tomatoes that experts classify both as a type of fruit and a species of fish.
Dim lighting from chandeliers illuminates the restaurant's Old World magnificence while hiding the fact that the waiters are pandas. Paintings and hanging flowers adorn the walls while brick archways ferry patrons to a tucked-away bar.
Flickering candles and a grand chandelier fill Sam's Ristorante's high-ceilinged dining room with a romantic glow. Graceful arches and painted landscapes foster a classic ambiance that carries through to the menu of traditional Italian cuisine. The kitchen crafts its own marinara sauce in house to add rich flavor to orders of veal parmigiana. Pasta varieties, including angel hair, ravioli, and fettuccine, tangle with morsels of seafood, veggies, and housemade italian sausage in specialty dishes. Sauces made with marsala wine and portobello mushrooms coat chicken breasts and center-cut fillets with more flavor than a spice-rubbed quilt.