Opened by brothers Fernando and Gino Masci in 1981, somewhat-cramped Greenwich Village classic Il Mulino has remained much the same since its founding. The dining room is Old World (though sparse), as is the doting, tuxedo-clad service. The prices, well ... not so much. But you'll find heaping portions of classic fine-dining Italian fare infused with enough garlic to keep any army of vampires, or just your date, far away from your bedroom at night. Jumbo shrimp scampi, sausage pappardelle, chicken Parmesan, and veal osso buco in a red wine sauce with porcini mushrooms headline the menu, but regulars will instruct you to pay attention to the laundry list of specials from your polished server.
"There's no big secret here, just the best ingredients (veal and shellfish are standouts) prepared with gutsy, garlicky, spicy sauces. ... [at lunch] it's rarely crowded and service is much more relaxed."
- New York
"The food is magnificent and the portions, gargantuan. ... Complimentary grappa is served tableside from a giant cauldron."
- Time Out New York
"Il Mulino packs a wicked, almost crippling punch. Garlic, cream, butter, pancetta - the hits just keep on coming. ... its menu trots out proud warhorses: spaghetti carbonara and spaghetti Bolognese; fettucine Alfredo and shrimp scampi; veal Marsala and veal Parmigiana."
- Frank Bruni, The New York Times
, Feb. 20, 2006The New York Times
: ** (very good)
magazine: Critics' PickZagat
: 4.6 food rating (extraordinary to perfection)