Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Il Mulino

In addition to stopping by Boka w/ Sara, I went to a 2nd Chef's Week spot, Il Mulino, w/ Adam. This is a traditional Italian restaurant in the Gold Coast. It's actually a chain, but a high end chain, with just 14 locations worldwide. In New York, it consistently wins Zagat's #1 Italian restaurant in the city. In Chicago, I'm pretty sure that honor belongs to Spiaggia, but it was good and a really fun dining experience. The restaurant is housed in an old mansion on North Dearborn Ave. It's homey yet elegant at the same time. There are multiple rooms in the house- you can tell they used to be a living room, dining room, etc. We were seated in what I'm guessing was the living room. It was large w/ a nice fireplace. We had a window seat so could enjoy the ambiance inside and the fact that it was 5:30 and the sun was still blazing (an exciting event in March here in Chi-town) outside.

While the food was definitely good (I had the prix fixe menu and Adam had veal), the overall experience is what makes me recommend this place for a 1 time visit on a date or with family (maybe not great for a group of friends). As soon as we were seated, various gratis appetizer snacks were put in front of us. A few minutes later, a server comes by with a HUGE block of parmesean cheese and breaks us off tasty chunks tableside.

When the wine we initially ordered wasn't available, our waiter made an excellent suggestion that was cheaper than the one we choose and absolutely delicious!

The combination of the appetizers, the cheese, the bread and the excellent wine recommendation put me in a good mood right away. We perused the menu, ordered a second round of apps (see why I need to run marathons?) and our main courses.

Dinner was tasty, but it was so long ago now that I don't remember exactly what I had. Sorry! But, like I said- go for the service, the ambiance, and the overall experience. The food will be good too:)

After we ordered dessert, we were in for our last surprise. Grappa! How did I make it thirty-something years not knowing about grappa! In case you have been equally in the dark about this delicious beverage, let me explain. Grappa is a a grape-based brandy of Italian origin that is ~50% ABV (alcohol by volume). So, hard liquor. It can be made with various fruits- lemon is common. The one we had was AMAZING! It tasted like good, clean water with a hint of cantaloupe. The only way I knew it was alcohol was that warm sensation you get in your belly with hard liquor. None of that harshness in the mouth. Just smooth with a hint of fruit. So, so good. We asked if we could buy some to take home and they said that it's a secret family recipe that can only be purchased in restaurant.

Anyone interested in happy hour at Il Mulino????

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good - never heard of it, thanks for sharing it!