Monica's dichotomous menu splits evenly between homestyle American meals and Italian-inspired entrees. Scalloped potatoes and ham bakes Iowa pork and creamy, cheesy spuds to a golden brown ($10.45), a tastier nostalgic nosh than snacking on Legos. Brick-oven-baked ziti, the restaurant's most popular dish, invites chicken, shrimp, and prosciutto to party in a lobster-cream sauce ($16.95), and the grilled, free-range chicken balsamico goes stag, nattily dressed in honey-balsamic glaze and portobello mushrooms ($16.95). Cravings originating from either side of the Atlantic can compromise with the gourmet pizza menu, whose nine specialty selections bake in a traditional Italian open-flame brick oven ($8.45+) but are named after former Iowa basketball players such as Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner, or choose from a plethora of tasty sandwiches, homemade soups, and specialty salads.
Grilled shrimp fajitas, chicken breasts in chocolate mole sauce, and chorizo-potato enchiladas are just a few of the specialties on the menu at El Cactus Authentic Mexican Cuisine. Diners can accompany bites with drinks mixed at a full bar.
Old Chicago specializes in deep-dish pizzas and fresh pastas, with an extensive beer list to wash it all down. The sicilian pepperoni roll, a potent mix of pepperoni, pepper jack, mozzarella, green onion, and ranch dressing baked into a doughy fuselage ($7.99), leads an arsenal of appetizers equipped to soothe early hunger pangs. Eight offerings of pasta include the santorini, a motley crew of Mediterranean vegetables—black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic—lovingly embraced by romano-and-parmesan-garnished cavatappi noodles ($10.99). The "Chicago Seven" calzone packs a savory payload of sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, red onion, and melted cheese ($9.99). Old Chicago diners can follow in the footsteps of famous pizza artist Vincent van Stuffedcrust by creating their own pies ($21.39 for a large with three toppings)—choose from over 40 toppings, including grilled steak, ricotta, and jalapeños—or pick from a list of eight specialty pizzas, such as the protein-packed meat me ($22.99 for a large) or its arch-nemesis, the malibu veggie ($19.99 for a large). Those pining for a tasty meal cap can indulge in OC's famous big cookie ($4.99), a frisbee-sized chocolate-chip treat served in a hot pizza pan.
The chefs at HuHot Mongolian Grill stand around a giant, round grill, preparing sizzling heaps of stir-fry. Unlike at other restaurants, every serving is different because, instead of the kitchen staff, the customer preps each bowl. The bowls may be brimming with chopped vegetables, seafood, and noodles, or they may be composed entirely of water chestnuts. The spice level of each dish varies based on the eater's preferences; MSG-free sauces range from barbecue to sweet teriyaki to five-alarm Kung Pao Yow! Since HuHot Mongolian Grill is an all-you-can-eat affair, diners get the chance to mix and match different ingredients with each trip to the grill.
Shogun Japanese Restaurant features authentic Japanese cuisine and MSG-free meals prepared by a chef with more than 15 years of experience. Dinner starters include the monkey brain, deep-fried mushroom stuffed with spicy crab ($5.95). Hibachi-cooked dinners such as teriyaki hibachi chicken arrive with house-made dressing, fried rice, and veggies ($9.95), and five- or eight-piece sushi rolls such as the avocado-y eel roll ($7.95) or spicy tuna ($8.95) provide perfect test subjects for prototype chopstick fingers. Lunch specials such as the california roll with two pieces of tuna and two pieces of salmon ($9.95) or the tempura-and-sushi lunch box ($9.95) all come with miso soup for a delectable liquid-solid flavor tag team. Shogun Japanese Restaurant's welcoming, elegant interior features a waterfall that, unlike Niagara’s famous falls, doesn’t require its viewers buy a mandatory barrel ride to help cover operating costs.
The Depot Express delights hungering tongue buds with a smorgasbord of specialty pies, as well as a slew of toppings for persnickety pizza patrons to create their own. The menu boasts belly-please combinations, such as the omelette breakfast pizza, adorned with egg, green pepper, onion, mushroom, canadian bacon, and the lactic duo of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses (12" for $12.99), and the supreme pizza, blanketed with beef, sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, black olive, and green pepper (14" for $14.99). The barbecue-sauce-slathered cowboy ranch variety loads on the meat ($16" for $16.99), while the taco pie dons a disguise of refried beans, ground beef, and piñata-shaped tortilla chips to hide from pizza-centric crime syndicates (12" for $12.99). Dough-based artists can create a meal masterpiece with traditional toppers, as well as more exotic trappings, such as fajita chicken, pickles, and sauerkraut ($10.99+). Individual pizza slices are perfect for light snacking before deep-space diving expeditions ($1.98).