Friday, January 09, 2009

Highlight #127: Not twice as good - Restaurant: Il Mulino New York in Atlanta

Let me just first say that this meal was good, even very good. The only thing that tainted my feelings towards the place is the price tag. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely one who is willing to pay for food and have done many tasting menus that cost much more than this meal. But when a single entree easily cost over forty dollars, it makes me wonder whether it's really twice as good as something I'd get at a number of great restaurants around the city. I mean that entree is more than half the price of a four course tasting menu at Bacchanalia. Is it really worth it? However, like I said, the food was of high quality and the service was of a superior standard.

The staff began to take care of us with little tastings of mussels and fried zucchinis before the menu even hit the table. Upon much pondering, we settled on the nightly special of fresh langoustine as an appetizer. It was easily my favorite thing of the evening. Lightly breaded to seal in the juices, the langoustine tasted like a super concentrated mini lobster. The garlicky sauce further upped the salt level and made the sauteed spinach very lovely.

Here is my bear fist sized veal chop with fried sage leaves. Living up to the restaurant's pedigree, the veal was perfectly cooked to show off a blush pink center and was very tender. One thing lacking was salt, especially without a sauce to flavor the bland center of the thick chop.

Lady J's scallops fared much better, wrapped in salty bacon. Nicely seared, the natural sugar of the scallops formed a very attractive caramelized layer. But if you look closely, this entree arrangement, from the sauteed spinach, the sauce, and even the plating look very much like the that of the langoustine appetizer. This wouldn't be a big deal at a more casual restaurant, but it's noticeable here.

We received no visit from the sommelier that night. Instead, our waiter suggested a bottle barolo to drink based on our food selection of scallops, veal chop, and a pasta. Considering the lighter weight of these items, the suggestion was quite off. But since we didn't request for the sommelier, I wasn't too alarmed. On the topic of wine, the table next to us was celebrating a birthday and decanted bottles of Sassicaia, an excellent super Tuscan, and left an entire bottle open and untouched at the table. I was very tempted to grab it. But it probably did not go to waste in the kitchen. :)

We ended the meal with their trademark tiramisu. Nicely soaked through, but not mushy, the texture was fantastic. Combined with the light sweet cream, this was a winning sweet ending.

Il Mulino New York
191 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 524-5777

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