Saying New Yorkers like restaurants is like saying San Diegans enjoy the surf. If anything, “like” doesn’t nearly signify the passion that New York City residents feel for their food. I’ve identified with that thought for some time, and it’s in that vein that it becomes somewhat incredulous when I say I’ve never been to the old New York stalwart, Il Mulino. I unintentionally decided to save that special moment for my 34th birthday, a night where my wife’s parents were looking forward to our tasty agenda and my wife would have seemingly rather stayed in and ordered in from the low-budget Italian joint on the corner.
For the week preceding my big day, all I know is said wife relentlessly ensured that my carb intake was as minimal as possible. She knows how much damage I can do when I eat with my eyes, and since this night was 34 years in the making she was taking no chances. I was thinking about my tasty birthday feast at work. I was thinking about it at the gym and even while I was eating my homemade turkey sandwich for lunch.
Maybe she was being such a pain in the ass on my day because she was scared of how much pasta, meat and cheese I would actually put in my belly that night. In an ideal world I would have gotten to Il Mulino and my table would have ordered the cheesiest, most rarely cooked and carb-laden entrees on the menu. Although that didn’t happen, I still gorged on bread, cheese and yes, I did ultimately get my pasta. The bottom line is that it was a great highlight to a birthday that was celebrated 3 times exuberantly and memorably.
I may be the last native New Yorker yet to dine on the old world classic Italian dishes and amongst the new world non-Italian crowd at Il Mulino. Before I was even able to explore how far along the worth-the-wait spectrum this tiny little Greenwich Village institution actually was, my too-tall legs were being scrunched by the tiny table covered in luscious breads and delicate cheeses. The wine was overflowing and the service extremely attentive, if not perhaps even so over the top that a few of the many waiters seemed to be merely taking up real estate in the charming-sized space. The pasta, selections of traditional Italian fare and taste of garlic were overflowing, which means menu choice and taste were seasoned perfectly. Whether for a special night or for a notch on your foodie belt, be ready to walk in expecting the very best and walking out slowly and glad you finally came. 86 W 3rd St | Btwn Sullivan & Thompson St (212) 673-3783