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Il Mulino - worth a visit?

I've been curious about this place ever since I arrived in NY 20 years ago and lived nearby. There was always lots of limos outside and I never had the money to go. Now I do. Should I? And if i do, what do they do best? (It's not just a red sauce place, is it?).

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  1. I've never found it lived up to the hype. The service was brusque for me, they pushed the VERY expensive anti-pasta platter, and the food was fine, not great.

    1. It's not a "red sauce" place but you don't have to be from Rome to understand the menu. I like the pastas but they'll come at you with more specials than regular menu items, so pay attention.

      You know, sometimes you just have to satisfy a curiosity. You can tell me if I'm wrong, but if you've thought about it more than a half dozen times in 20 years, then yes, you have to go. It's a restaurant that's been on top for 30 years while many have come and gone. I think the possibility of a fantastic meal shows its worthiness.

      1. If you go, you should go for lunch (same exact food not as cramped). It is not purely a red sauce place but it is not as interesting a menu as say babbo (or as good for that matter).

        1. i've never been there but i love their sister restaurant Il Giglio in Tribeca (where the antipasti is free) and the atmosphere quiet and elegant.

          If you do a search here, an Il Mulino fan wrote a great, very funny and lengthy post where he described eating there an athletic event and made dozens of recommendations on how to get the best out of the Il Mulino experience.

          1. I'm going to disagree with most other people here and say: Yes you absolutely must go, it is better than Babbo for my money (gasp!) and much closer to how I expect a traditional high-end italian meal to be prepared.

            Is it expensive? absolutey (almost prohibitively so). And do they push you to order the more expensive specials? Absolutely. Are these specials far and away better than the menu items - absolutely.

            My view is if you've decided to go, you've already made the commitment to spend a lot of money, so just relax and order whatever strikes you... everything the waitstaff "suggests" is tremendous.

            Go with an open wallet and an empty stomach, and don't turn away anything that you'd like to try. I've been three times and was completely blown away each time.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Spends Rent on Food

              You are incorrect. Their best dish is actually their veal parm. And as much as I like the place, Babbo is better.

              1. re: tpigeon

                I have just informed my tastebuds that they are incorrect.

                Thanks for the heads up.

                1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                  Very funny! Actually my tastebuds agree with your tastebuds to an extent--I also have never been disappointed with a recommended special there (well, my stomach, not my wallet $$$$$), but as much as I love the food there, I love Babbo more. Anyway, a great part of the meal is the pre-dinner "lagniappes" of outrageous garlicky marinated zucchini, cheese so sharp it puckers the mouth, and salami.

                  1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                    I was actually referring to the veal parm on the incorrect part, not babbo btw.