The first and last time I went to the original Il Mulino in the West Village was about 20-years ago. I took my mother there. It was great and lived up to the hype.
One walked in to see a small family-run restaurant with a bounty of ingredients on display, such as a pile of peeled oranges. The complimentary pre-appetizer was a chunk of Parmesan cheese and salami. The $80 ravioli or langoustine shrimp were like no other.
Since then, the Il Mulino brand name has been fought over in family squabbles. Authorized and unauthorized spinoffs have opened up, and the legendary brand has been diminished (much like the Nobu brand).
The Tribeca location of the latest Il Mulino opened on Greenwich Street. I tried it out. It was horrible. It seems as if they are not even trying.
For starters, the interior is an industrial stark white brick wall and black paint ceiling. I have seen coffee shops with better décor.
Then, the menu is all wrong. They have entrees that need side dishes, but the pasta sides are full $30 entrees.
I got the chicken parm, which was way too salty. It would have been nice to have a small side of pasta, but they refused. One can get a Serafina or Il Gigino chicken parm that is better and cheaper.
Then, the servers are an untrained mess of a crew. Making matters worse, they have the gall to have two lines for tipping: One for the regular server, which I was not sure whom was mine, and some “Captain”, which again I have no idea who he was. All I know is that my water was not filled up.
For coffee, I carefully explained the difference between a cappuccino and latte (because half the country thinks a latte is a cappuccino). Sure enough, they brought out a mound of milk foam rather than the smooth-top-decorated drink I desired.
I seriously doubt that this place will be in business next year. Because it is called Il Mulino and the entrees are very expensive, people expect to get the best food in the city. Instead, they get food inferior to any other affordable Italian place.
This Il Mulino is a bastard child. It is an imposter.