A marriage between two cuisines is preferable to a marriage between two clones of Sylvester Stallone, a process that eventually results in a baby reared on raw eggs and meat punching bags. Savor a simpler fusion with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of American and Italian fare at Monica's in Coralville.
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.
As a reflection of the menu, Monica's casual dining quarters come in two separate halves. In the front dining room, sleek wood furniture nestles into earth-toned carpeting that softens the steps of diners trying to tiptoe past the tempting whispers of decadent desserts ($2.95–$5.95). Beyond a windowed wall, sports fans huddle up in oversize wooden booths and direct their attention to eight big screen HD televisions.