A few weeks ago, I headed over to the NYC institution, the original Il Mulino, to dine with Jeffrey, the founder of Foodie Hub — along with one of the founders of Tastemade and several of my fellow NYC Foodie Hubbers. While I’d never visited, Jeffrey had been there many times and knew exactly what to order.
Before we’d even ordered, however, we were first served individual mussels and bruschetta. A nice nibble to start the night. Also, pardon the photos… Il Mulino is consistently named one of the darkest restaurants in NYC (no I’m not joking).
Roasted red bell pepper, tomato, basil, burrata, and prosciutto, all drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Honestly, you could think ‘eh it’s just burrata’ and yes, it was just burrata. But it was also the thinnest ‘skinned’ burrata I’d ever had, with the creamiest, freshest tasting innards I’ve ever tasted. I was so enamored that I was kind of sad that it was over — except knowing how much more food was to come, I pushed my plate aside.
The pastas began arriving – a trio to start. Squid ink pasta in the top left; mushroom ravioli with truffles on the right; pappardelle on the bottom. Each type had their fans, but personally: the pillowy, amazingly soft and not overly-earthy ravioli surprised the socks off me. The pappardelle was awesome, too, but those ravioli…
Have you ever dined with food Instagrammers in a dark restaurant? The lights come out! That’s the carbonara. I didn’t get a good shot (I couldn’t elbow my way in if I wanted to – and I didn’t want to) – but trust that this dish is incredibly creamy, rich, and wonderful. I was pretty happy with the portion I scored!
Then the rest of the dishes began arriving. Holy what, we ordered a lot of food. Above – veal parm. To me, bland and a total miss Don’t bother. BTW – I thought that was a spatula for serving, but it’s the bone. It was dark in there and hard to see things.
I definitely couldn’t get near for a photo of the rack of lamb, but holy hell, that was the best lamb I’ve ever had. I’m not a big lamb eater, but this was tender beyond all belief, with this insanely rich and savory sauce on top. I wished for another piece. I should have stolen someone else’s. I’m still dreaming about it.
There was also a salmon dish that was OK, a pork loin dish that was satisfactory but not wow-worthy… honestly, when I go back, it’s the rack of lamb and the ravioli and/or the carbonara for me. And that burrata….
Ah… the chilled glasses were subsequently filled from a HUGE mason jar of grappa. As I’ve mentioned, I’m pregnant, so I didn’t partake — though I did sniff it and take the tiniest dip of my tongue in there. It was… potent. And of course, no meal is complete without dessert, right? Well – we had one of every single kind they had. I had a few bites – the tiramisu was particularly lovely – before I had to call it quits.
Overall – definitely an epic meal in a very dark, cramped space. I enjoyed the experience and think everyone who spends time in NYC should do it at least once in their life, but I don’t know if I’d call this place “the best Italian restaurant in NYC” — definitely a very unique and wonderful experience, with very attentive and knowledgeable service.
But boy, do I dream about eating that burrata… followed by the ravioli and carbonara… then the rack of lamb… all over again.
86 W 3rd St
New York, NY 10012
check website for other locations, though this is the flagship and according to Jeffrey, the only good one