Il Mulino: are you kidding?
- Eliot Shepard
Went to Il Mulino for the company holiday dinner last night.
The room has the feel of a tightly packed dentist's office, complete with cheesy wallpaper and a drop ceiling.
The "freebie" courses were unexceptional, with the exception of the Parmegiano and salami -- the kitchen couldn't do much to ruin those. The fresh bread was unexceptional, very bleached stuff, and the fried was rock-hard and greasy.
I tried the mushroom caps stuffed with escargot. The snails tasted like dirt, and not in a good way. Also had a bite of the tomato and mozzarella antipasto. Tomatoes average and cheese was, to me, a watery mush with very little flavor.
The porcini mushroom filled ravioli were adequate, though the sauce was needlessly heavy and heavy on the marsala for my liking. For a secondo, I had the Scallopine alla Romana, which was an oily, soggy mush. The veal had the consistency of stew beef.
Nothing on the table (in a party of 8) displayed any subtlety or originality of flavor. Salt, oil, garlic, capers was more or less the extent of it. It completely escapes me how this place rates as anything near the city's best Italian. I've had better food with less fuss at Aunt Suzie's, for about a quarter the price. For the same money at Babbo, I've enjoyed flavors of mythical proportions, and I didn't leave feeling like a whale in an ocean of olive oil, producing chunks of garlic-infused ambergris.
I didn't get a look at the bill, but it warn't cheap!
This reminds me of a company dinner I went to at Le Cirque 2000 several years ago. Went in very excited because of all the press the place had gotten. It was a set menu and except for the dessert, it was terrible. I don't know if these places are overhyped, or if they fold under doing group events.
Perhaps you should consider the fact that company dinners are not the best way to experience any restaurant. There are usually pre set menus for these types of parties containing items that may not even appear on the restaurants regular menu, and since these large groups begin their meals all at once, the kitchen has to prepare ahead rather than to order.
next time go to piccola venezia in astoria, or manducatti's in long island city. nuff said ciao.
We tried Il Mulino once on a Saturday night, 2 summers ago, and the 3 of us were all uniformly disappointed and underwhelmed even though we tried the recommended house specialties (dover sole,some type of red meat...lamb maybe?). None of us have ever wanted to return there again. High quantity of food, but very poor quality, and alot of grease. So itwas not poor food just because of a company dinner, we were there when they first opened for the evening when it wasn't crowded at all.