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Il Mulino questions

I am taking my family to Il Mulino for my sister's 21st birthday bash in 3 weeks and wanted to ask some questions.

I know many people on here have said that it is overpriced, overrated, and what have you but it gets great reviews for the most part and I have always wanted to try it. Before you start saying "Why did you choose this?" and "There are so many better Italian restaurants in the city" listen up. We have been to Babbo (LOVED it) and Del Posto (underwhelmed and overpriced).
My family loves Italian food and many have labeled Il Mulino as the best traditional "Southern Italian" in New York for the past few decades. I pretty much know what to expect from the food- it will be straightforward Italian, nothing too exotic or foodie like but that is what my sister and mother like and this is my sister's big day so I figured this would be a fitting venue to celebrate for her. If they were bigger foodies and looking for more exotic dishes I would consider taking them to Marea or Alto or Convivio or Scarpetta.. you get the point. Bottom line is while I am sure they would definitely be able to find something at any of those places and have a great meal, Il Mulino would be a more satisfying and welcoming selection for them. Plus let's not just label Il Mulino some slouch. It has to be doing something right after all.

Still I expect the food to be great. Just because it is simple, straightforward, etc. it can and should be great for the prices they charge ( I am told it can be VERY expensive but that does not really bother me if it is worth it.) I also know we will not be leaving hungry with all the free bies and large portion sizes.

So now onto the menu. What are the standouts? What are must orders?

There will be 5 of us so what would be the proper amount of food to order (apps, entrees, desserts??) taking into account the bread and freebies.

Is dessert worth the stomach space or price? I see they offer mostly run of the mill Italian desserts like cheese cake, tartufo, cannoli, tiramisu, berries. Anything here that should not be missed? Doesn't sound like anything too special. It IS here 21st so you GOTTA get dessert lol. My plan right now will be to skip dessert for something more worthwhile and maybe go somewhere close for great gelato (Grom or L'Arte).

Finally what is the dress code. I'm guessing no jeans allowed. Dress shirt and dress pants are more appropriate for gentleman?

Thanks hounds and of course I will be back with a full report as I always do.

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  1. I havent been in years but I do remember everything being very garlicy. I do remember the veal ossobuco being pretty damm good.

    1. Its been a long time but I recall the rack of lamb special I got being excellent. It was about $60 but was literally an entire rack.

      the warning against the pricing specifically relates to the specials. They are very expensive so just be warned before you go.

      1. As noted by ESNY, portions are generally HUGE, many enough for two.

        1. Dress code, jeans are fine.

          Dessert worth it? No,much like the rest of it but you know that. I did have a good ricotta cheesecake there many years ago but back then the place was very good, overall. Was still a bit expensive for what it was but there was quality.
          If your sister wants it, get her whatever she likes if you care to.
          Whatever requires the least amount of cooking skill and attention to detail would probably be the best choices for dishes. Just hope they watch the cooking times which is basically the only thing you have to do in some cases.
          Amount of food, well, I am assuming at least two ladies and would say that 5 apps and 5 mains will be too much. You can decide on dessert at the time, y, so don't fret about that too much.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dietndesire

            Thanks guys. Yes it will be three guys and 2 ladies. Good to know you can wear jeans. I did not want to feel out of place wearing nice jeans and a button down shirt.

            As for the menu items I have heard raves about the rack of lamb special, veal parmigiana (I think it is so cool that it is a veal chop, pounded, covering the entire plate and has the boone still attached!!!! see pic here http://www.ilmulino.com), osso buco, whole fish, porcini ravioli.

            My guess is we will probably order about three apps for the table to share...mostly pastas, and everyone will order there own main. As for dessert if I tell them it is her bday will they put a candle in it? I am sure they would.

          2. Never been to Il Mulino, but FYI L'Arte is tiny with only a couple of tables if you don't plan to take your gelato outside. Grom is bigger, but it's often crowded and it may be hard to grab a table for 5 right away.

            BTW I don't think you should ever have to elaborate so much about why you didn't pick a non-"foodie" place or non-Chowhound favorite... but I understand why you did.

            1 Reply
            1. re: uwsister

              Yeah I would not be opposed to take it outside especially if it is a nice night outside you know.

              I agree I should not have to defend the non foodie side of it but felt like I should so that people knew I didn't wanna hear that it is run of the mill red suace Italian.