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Restaurants & Bars 8

Il Mulino (Dallas)

Donnie C | Dec 18, 2004 12:31 AM

What a joke. $400 for Chef Boyardee.

First let me admit my prejudices.
a. For new, over hyped restaurants I wait at least 6 months for the crowds to die down and reality to set in.
b. After many, truly stimulating, Italian meals in SF, NYC and Italy, my expectations are way too high for southern mid-continent Italian.

And now Il Mulino.

Hype-Unbelievable, free appetisers served as soon as you sit down. So many that they can spoil your dinner.
Truth-We got 3 puny, uninteresting mini-mini-plates and two baskets of varied, but boring bread.

Hype-There are so many specials that you can't remember them all.
Truth-All specials were $50+. There were 8, of which 3 were pasta ala Betty Crocker. 2 fish , 1 veal, 1 lamb, blah blah.

Hype-The menu is so big that you can't absorb it all.
Truth-2 pages including all courses except dessert (dessert was the 4 typical, waiter-described items-chocolate blah blah, tiramisu, berries with blah blah, etc).

Hype-The portions are so big that you will take home at least 1/2.
Truth-The entrees were so bad, no one took anything home and the portions were very, very standard sized. And believe me, standard is more than enough, even if it is incredible, which these WERE NOT. Did I say NOT, sorry, I really mean NOT!?

Hype- great food.
Truth-Gummy risotto, clumpy, dry polenta and undercooked pasta. Lamb that tasted like gamey mutton and EVERYTHING was cold. Stone cold. I humbly put them in the shade with my homecooked polenta and risotto and it should be a contest any conscientious restaurant wins hands down...everytime. Not so.

Other fun items-I ordered 4 wines from the 6 page, triple spaced wine list. All 4 were "unavailable".
The first was from the "reserve" list, the second two fom the "expensive red list" and the 4th from the "I give up-just any red will do list". For the last two, they brought me the label I ordered, but the wrong year. They seemed oh so surprised when I pointed that out. First, (but the third "Gee I'm sorry...), they offered me $20 off a younger bottle, which I refused. They then offered me the chance to taste my "any red will do" selection (also the wrong year), if I liked it, I could have it for free or I could go back to the wine list. With reservations, I accepted their offer, I mean I'm not that hard to please...really. Just bring me the wine you list for sale or draw a line through the ones that are sold out...IFFF you are too CHEAP to reprint. It's a REAL short list for a "big" restaurant, so why not reprint? Reprints wouldn't cost the $60, which is what our comped (yes, a nice gesture)wine cost.
The couple we were with had just come back from Las Vegas and had gone to the opening of the Il Mulino in Caesars. They had the meal of their life there and couldn't wait to try the Dallas installation. Man, were they sorry...
It was a weird trip. Here's an arguably amazing, high-end culinary dream come true and the whole time you are there it continues to fall part, piece by piece, minute by minute. Much like a sand drained hour glass, it just leaked away until we had gone from surprise, to tears, to laughter.

My guess is that they are losing their butts and that is why a)it was half full on Friday night (hence the lawsuit against DMN for the unenthusiastic review, I guess), b) the portions are way below the reputation, c) the food was VERY mediocre and d) the wine list has been vacated.

So go soon, if you are going, before it is no more.
This place had the smell of death.

Remembering that the Il Mulino building used to be a gas station, we wondered if a special of a slice of pepeoroni pizza and a lube & oil change might turn the whole thing around...

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