Buonissimo!Classic Italian Eatery Il Mulino Arrives in Wainscott
It is purely coincidence that the companion I invite to join me for dinner at Il Mulino – the new Italian restaurant in Wainscott – frequented the establishment’s Greenwich Village location back in the ‘80s when she was a Ford Model. It’s also a coup, seeing that she is able to inform me that the series of dishes that arrive automatically at our table almost from the moment we are seated is part of the boite’s glorious presentation. She certainly appreciated the seemingly nonstop flow of food in her starving model days and surely appreciates it now.
First comes a waiter holding a huge wheel of parmesan into which he thrusts a knife and scoops out a chunk for our bread plate. Then comes another waiter with a choice of home-baked focaccia followed by another waiter dishing out thinly shaved zucchini chips fried in garlic oil (Be still my heart!). We only wished they would have been warm rather than room temp. Afterwards come glistening cubes of bruschetta made from locally sourced tomatoes. All gratis.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When we first arrived we were seated in a chic lounge with a trio of white sofas, light wooden tables and a rattan pouf. A wall of open shelves leading to a dining room was lightly decorated with such beachy objects as an oyster-encrusted vase and a scattering of seashells. We couldn’t help but note that the acoustics are just right.
We were led past the bar with its white leather barstools and through a dining room till we got to the Pond Room, with views of Georgica Pond. It’s a Sunday night and the place has only been open a couple of weeks, but it’s packed. This is a big summer for the Il Mulino brand, which will be opening a new location in Tribeca in late June, as well as outposts in Flatiron and Chicago later this summer.
Adorable Italian chef Michele Mazza stops by our table to tempt us with offerings including beautiful Sardinian langoustine still in their shiny shells.
Shortly he sends out a spectacular Lobster Tartar, thin strips of barely steamed lobster atop a puree of avocado and surrounded by polka dots of bright yellow mayo. My companion’s favorite dish of the evening.
Next comes the langoustine, out of its shell and super tender and flavorful, served with risotto though we could have chosen spinach.
Have you ever had burrata combined with watermelon? It’s a brilliant combo, especially when drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Outstanding.
That’s it for the chef’s selection. Now we have to choose our own dishes. (Yes, we still have room.) A waiter reels off at least half a dozen each of appetizer and entrée specials. But when he mentions Porcini Ravioli, we’re hooked. This appetizer, doused with a Champagne sauce with cream and specks of black truffles, is the hit of the night. We are told it is one of the establishment’s signature pastas. No wonder.
By the way, all pastas are made in-house with organic flour from Italy.
For our entrée, we both vie for the Osso Buco, a world-class version in a rich brown sauce served with a delightfully toothsome risotto. Though we were promised saffron in the risotto, sadly neither of us could taste any. The marrow was out of this world.
The cannoli with its fresh light center was the best this reviewer has ever tasted. The flourless chocolate cake was so lacking in flour that it was like eating frosting. As a frosting lover, I can’t complain. While I’m not a fan of tiramisu (too soggy), this one was cleverly made with limoncella, a refreshing change though it was almost too lemony. The light-as-air zabaglione (served with berries) was so good we would have liked a pail of it. Finally, the apple strudel with its almost carbonized crust was superb.
A nice gesture was a waiter offering us a selection of digestifs after the meal. In fact, the army of servers were impeccable in their attention and friendliness.
My companion declared that she will be back soon and is thrilled to have an outpost of her former stomping ground in the Hamptons. “It’s truly a jewel”