Monday, February 22, 2010

RW Day 3: Dinner at Il Mulino

I heart Italian food. Two of my favorite restaurants in Chicago are Cafe Spiaggia and Coco Pazzo. And don't get me started about how much I love Babbo in NY. I am a regular at my neighborhood Italian joint.

A group of friends decided to have dinner at Il Mulino Sunday evening. Given my love affair with Italian cuisine, I was excited.

A light snow was falling as we arrived at the beautiful mansion. We were shortly seated near the fireplace. Almost immediately seemingly endless plates of antipasti were brought to the table: bruschetta, fried zucchini chips, prosciutto, breads, and parmesan wedges cut tableside from a wheel. Wine was poured.

I was still a bit full from my delicious brunch at the Publican, so I decided to order the arugula salad with lemon and shaved parmesan. It tasted like eating arugula out of a bag. Folks, fresh lemon, sea salt, and ground pepper can go a long way.

Next up was the porcini mushroom ravioli in a cream champagne sauce with black truffles. The dish was unnecessarily rich and heavy. It did not do justice to the truffles.

Seriously, I don't understand the desire to smoother truffles in cream. Let the truffle shine, even if it is not meant to be the centerpiece of the dish.

For dessert I ordered the New York cheesecake. It tasted more like wet cake than NY cheesecake. The meal concluded with grappa served tableside.

The verdict on Il Mulino: the setting was absolutely romantic, presentation was dramatic, service was attentive, but unfortunately the food was average.

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