I was not disappointed. The restaurant is beautiful. Clean lines. Simple decor. Contemporary with tradition in mind. Splashes of orange where needed. Contrasts of dark blacks with lighter tones. The stage was set for a great evening.
Bar at Trattoria Il Mulino
Main Dining at Trattoria Il Mulino
The service at Trattoria Il Mulino was phenomenal. I do not exaggerate. Phenomenal. We had a team, headed by a Maitre d' -- Old School. Classic service. Service which you don't see much anymore. It was hard to believe this restaurant had only been open one week. They were a well oiled machine. Very impressive.
Trattoria Il Mulino is the newest concept from the famed Il Mulino out of NYC. With other locations around the World, the folks at Il Mulino know a thing or two about fine dining and great service. Their Trattoria is more casual than the "original" Il Mulino. However, this place is hardly casual in service or preparation. It is a classy, well versed establishment.
The food was pretty good, too (although not cheap -- my cocktail Bellini was $10, and the wine menu was a little on the high side). We were started with the Chef's amuse bouche -- slices of salami and a roasted eggplant. Fairly good flavor. For our appetizer, we ordered the Arancini ($7), Italian Rice Balls (fried risotto balls). The crispy, light crust on the outside was nice. However, the rice was pretty mushy and bland inside. We also ordered the Oysters on the Half Shell ($12). They were not the highest quality, but they were not bad. Now that my ONLY two complaints are out there. Let me happily move on (and please don't let those two items deter you from trying Trattoria Il Mulino).
The menu is full of traditional Italian fare -- from pizzas, pastas and cheeses to chicken, beef, and veal. For my entree, I ordered the Homemade Ricotta Ravioli ($16). The dish came with 8 good sized pillows of yummy ricotta goodness. The pasta was very al dente -- authenticly made, and authentically cooked pasta. The tomato-cream sauce was delectable. I actually ate the sauce like a soup once my raviolis were gone. The sauce was THAT divine.
Homemade Ricotta Ravioli
My dining companion ordered the Saltimbocca ($19), veal pounded with prosciutto and sage, with a mouth watering garlic spinach. The veal was very tender. And, although the veal was thinly pounded, the dish was hearty and substantial due to the heavy, very tasty sauce.
Finally, my favorite part...Dessert. We had a hard time deciding which to order, so the excellent staff provided us with a tasting of 4 of their desserts. The Panna Cotta ($8), Torta Di Cioccolato ($7), Ricotta Cheesecake ($7), and Tiramisu ($8). First up, the Panna Cotta (Italian cooked cream). Creamy. Rich. Thick. Delicious. This gelatin pudding was topped with candied orange peel. Hello Yummy!!! Next, the Torta Di Cioccolato -- flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and Zabaglione. Zabaglione can be a dessert itself -- made of egg yolks, sugar, and marsala wine (or a sweet wine). This whipped creamy custard was an excellent pairing to the chocolate and the Ricotta Cheesecake. The chocolate cake was rich and delicate. An excellent balance giving the cake a unity of heavenly proportions.
The Ricotta Cheesecake was fabulous. Not normally a fan of cheesecake - at all - using ricotta instead of cream cheese completely changes the essence of a cheesecake. It was sweeter, lighter, and fluffier. It paired perfectly with the Zabaglione. I loved it! Finally, the Tiramisu. It was light, airy, and tasty.
Ricotta Cheesecake, Torta Di Cioccolato, Panna Cotta, and Tiramusu
I am now a fan of Trattoria Il Mulino. The ambiance is classy, clean, with touches of fun. The service was out of this world fantastic. And, the food was delicious and well prepared. And, more fun news, Houston should expect the Flagship Il Mulino in about a year. Most likely in the Midtown area. Cheers to that!
Trattoria Il Mulino
(in the Westin Hotel - Memorial City)
Houston, Texa 77024