Posted tagged ‘west village’

Mex Recs from the Summer of ’69

September 6, 2009

One part randomness + one part Canadian + a splash of tequila equals the first truly good Manhattan Mexican recommendation I’ve received to date.

It was Bryan Adams… yes, that Bryan Adams…  Summer of ’69 Bryan Adams who more than two years ago suggested to me that the tiny West Village eatery, Mexicana Mama, was perhaps the best Mex joint in the City. Doubting the Canadian rocker-turned-photog’s (is that an oxymoron?) knowledge of south-of-the-border fare, I brushed it off and continued dining with friends at the standard city Mexican restaurants (Dos Caminos or El Rio Grande for hallucinogenic margs).

It’s important to note that prior to my visit to Mexicana Mama, I was fresh off a trip to perhaps the Tex-Mex capital of the U.S. , Austin, Texas (where I was treated to a delicious Tortilla Crusted Tilapia… another post for another day), making me that much more skeptical.

Well today I swallow my pride, and wash it down with a Dos Equis Amber… apologies to you Mr. Adams, as your recommendation was correct…  Mexicana Mama, with only a handful of tables and a limited menu serves up an incredible bounty of flavors through its dishes.  Extra points here for eliminating margarita mix and opting for true Tequila and Fresh Lime Juice Margs!

Keeping with the music theme, a trip to the bathroom actually requires a backstage pass… well, not really, but it does force a trip through the kitchen offering a behind-the-scenes look at some fresh meats, veggies and melted cheeses adjusting to their floury tortilla homes..

Chihuahua Cheese and Chorizo for all… and well, the guacamole could be all for one, or one for all

Not Much Room To Rock...

Not Much Room To Rock...


Il Mulino: 3rd and Sullivan, New York City

December 21, 2008

Quick hit thoughts: An absolute food orgy, consult your accountant first

  • Food: A :The freshest I have ever tasted. You could still hear the moo from the meat and taste the dirt on the veggies (well, not really, but it was damn fresh)
  • Service: A+ : 20 tables and about 20 waiters/bus boys. ’nuff said
  • Decor: B+ : Romantic but dark. A little cramped up front
  • Price: $$$$$$ – consider refinancing your house before you order

It didn’t take long to realize that this was going to be a special dining experience. Perhaps not the easiest place to get a reservation, and from what I hear, sometimes reservations still warrant an hour or two wait in the small, cramped and dark bar area… however, once at your table, let the games begin.

Upon being seating, you are introduced to both your waiter (who is merely a player on the extensive team of servers you will deal with… a team so good they could compare to Jordan’s Bulls in the 90’s) and a plethora of food, bread and cheese to sample. Our table’s tastings included chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, bruschetta with mussels, fried zucchini, and a bread basket that could rival a laundry basket… just for sitting there, this was not ordered.

After the first course (a meal for some) we opted for a pasta, a salad and an entree each.

  • Porcini Mushroom Ravioli ($25 for half order (6) $50 for full (12) – Unbelievable taste… If it wasn’t apparent earlier, the food is the freshest I have ever had.
  • Tomato/Mozzarella (2 slices of Fresh Mozz an 2 slices of Tomato $18 pp) – The rip-off of the evening. I’ll make it simple for ya… Was it good? Yes! Was it worth it? No!
  • Entrees: Stuffed Veal Chop ($55) and Pappardelle w/ Tomato and Homemade Sausage ($39) – The veal chop was incredible. On the plate it looked like something right out of the Flintstones, stuffed with Fontina cheese and covered in mushrooms. The Pappardelle was great, the sausage was sausage… definitely good, but not something I would consider a must.

I tend to do most of my dining in Jersey, however, on occasion, certain New York restaurants interest me enough to cross the river and try. Three things I try to keep in mind when dining in the Big Apple…

  • Don’t trust the reviews
  • Bring your wallet
  • Prepare for poor portion sizes

With Il Mulino, the portions were as big as you could imagine, my concerns about price applied more than ever and the reviews, at least regarding the food/service, were dead on.

Total bill for two was nearly $275 (incl. tax/tip)… we only had a glass of house Sangiovese each ($18 pp). For some this may be nothing, but it was a bit steep for classic Italian dishes. I will be back again, hopefully on someone else’s dime the next time!

A concern: They have also started opening these up around the country… Miami, Vegas, Atlantic City, etc… this scares me. I assume quality will remain the same, but buyer beware.


il-mulino86 W 3rd St (West Village)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 673-3783