It’s Monday, and I just experienced a “weekend of letdowns,” as my friend Jamie so eloquently put it. For me, her comment is relevant in the food department as I had a breakfast and a dinner that were, indeed, letdowns. Happily, restaurant week has begun. Unhappily, my first restaurant week experience was, well, unhappy. It started out well enough, as we pull up in front of Il Mulino, take in its exterior beauty, walk in, take in its interior beauty, and sit. Unfortunately, it all goes downhill from the word “sit.” While I thought the service level was harmless, if not pretty good, my friend Erica quickly dubbed our waiters “twins.” After that comparison, which she made pretty early on, I couldn’t help but see her point. Upon seating, we were immediately accosted with Parmesan cheese that was cut in front of us by one of the said “twins.” Throughout the evening, one twin would pop up every once in a while to refill our wine glass or with mutterings of “fresh ground pepper,” and the other was soon to follow 5 minutes later with similar well-meaning, if annoying, intentions. In sum, I would say the service was good, but awkward as hell, which is why I belabor the point.
On to the food… As young, twenty-something up and comers, we of course were doing the “prix fixe” menu (it is restaurant week after all), and split a bottle of Campo San Vito Valpolicella Red 2006. This wine is decent, but if it were just a tad bit dryer, I’d deem it solid. Slightly sweet for my taste in red wines, but good enough.
For the sake of this blog, my friends all magnanimously agreed to order different entrees of the menu so that I might try everything. Little did I know that there would be not one thing worth trying. I had the caprese salad, and instantly regretted that decision upon tasting their Eggplant Rollatine. With rolled eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese, baked in a light vodka sauce, topped with melted mozzarella and served with spinach it was infinitely better than the tasteless tomato, hunk of cheese, and leaf on my plate. For entrees, I tried the Grilled Salmon, the Herb Roasted Chicken, the Veal Piccatta, and their Ravioli Procini, and each time my response was blah, blah, blah and blah. There really isn’t anything more to say. They were tasteless. Much like my caprese salad, everything was just bland. Everything lacked flavor. Letdown.
Dessert was equally disappointing. The so-called “cheesecake” was more of a Tres-Leches cake with some almond flavoring thrown in. It completely lacked the thick, creamy consistency that makes a cheesecake a cheesecake, and instead I consumed a wet, mealy, mushy mess that would not have been half so bad if it wasn’t mislabeled an effing cheesecake.
So, unless you like awkwardly good service, tasteless entrees, and desserts with identity crises, I’d say skip Il Mulino. I mean, come on, everyone involved agreed that the Parmesan cheese was the highlight of our meal… What does that say to you?