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Vegas Report, Part III: Il Mulino (long, not a happy ending)


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Vegas Report, Part III: Il Mulino (long, not a happy ending)

susancinsf | May 28, 2005 02:09 PM

I was looking for a luxurious, delicious lunch as a treat for myself while sister Janet was in meetings…I had seen nothing but raves about Il Mulino on the board. Somehow I missed the report by Kevin, below, which is too bad because, while I was less concerned about price than he appears to be, his experience was much more similar to mine than all of those positive posts....

Anyway, I made a reservation on Open Table and arrived promptly for my one pm reservation. To my surprise, the restaurant was just about empty even though I had passed very full houses at Spago and several other places on the long walk there…hmm…...Even more surprisingly, since the place was almost empty, I waited a good four or five (!) minutes to be acknowledged at the host stand. I probably should have gotten the clue and left.

Once acknowledged, I was promptly seated at a nice table, and was immediately served a bread basket, a chunk of parmesan cheese, and an amuse of a brushetta with tomato and a black mussel. The brushetta topping was way too vinegary, unpleasantly so, and tasted old; I took one bite and left the rest. I then ordered a (very pricy, at $20!) glass of wine from an interesting list (although the wines by the glass are very limited) and the price fix lunch: I chose a salad and the porcini ravioli with black truffle sauce. I also asked for a side of grilled asparagus. Soon, the waiter also brought out two complimentary antipasti: fried zucchini with red peppers, which had a nice spicy bite to them but unfortunately were greasy, and a salumi that didn't have much flavor.

Ok, salad next: I can’t remember all of the components, but it was so overdressed as to be barely edible. Not good. As for the ravioli, which I’ve seen raves about in other posts, it was neither good nor bad: not a lot of flavor. I am not sure how porcini can be bland, but they managed. The sauce had black flecks that could have been truffle, but no discernable truffle taste. (not much taste of any kind). The best part of the meal was the asparagus: but then, how can you screw up grilled asparagus? I enjoyed eating the asparagus with bits of the parmesan cheese chunk.

Sigh. I wasn’t satisfied, but decided to see if dessert could salvage the experience. The server came over to describe desserts. They had a poached pair, it sounded good, so I ordered it. It came to the table whole, and the server cut it, topped each piece with some nice fresh whipped cream (good) and some flavorless crème fraiche (having both this and whipped cream seemed really unnecessary), and presented it to me. It was good but nothing mind blowing, and I would have preferred it without so much cream. I ended the meal with a decent cappuccino.

And then asked for the bill: and imagine my surprise to see ‘Pera’ listed at $20! $20 for a poached pear! By comparison, the Grand Marnier soufflé that we had as part of our dinner at Andre's, a restaurant of a similar overall price point/caliber (though much better food) was $12! I called the server over to ask if there could be some mistake, and he got a pained looked on his face (so I am sure he has been asked this before) and told me that the pear was off of the dinner menu and ‘filleted’ tableside, and that $20 was indeed the cost. Ok, Kevin and I both learned the hard way: do *not* order dessert at Il Mulino without asking the price, unless you’d rather loose your hard earned money gambling there, than at the crap tables!

Interestingly, I had the same experience as Robin mentioned in her reply to Kevin: after (unhappily) paying the bill, no one said thank you as I left, even though again, there were plenty of service staff standing around nearby and the restaurant was still quite empty.

Total cost with wine, side of asparagus, the price fix lunch, pear, and tax and tip: about $90. Bottom line: not at all worth it. Given all of the great places to eat in Vegas, I doubt if I could be convinced to ever go back, even if someone else was picking up the tab. For a lovely lunch, with delicious food, wonderful people watching, a nice wine list, very good and welcoming service, and a lower bill to boot: Mon Ami Gabi gets my vote.


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