Trattoria Il Mulino- Old School for the New School

Trattoria Il Mulino NYC

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  • scene: Downtown cool vibe serving uptown Italian classics in a modern, slightly industrial space
  • sip: Whatever you want
  • savor: Meatballs; pizza; parpadelle with lobster
  • sit: Date; group; by yourself at the bar to suck down a bowl of pasta and some fluffy Flatiron scene
  • spend: $$$
  • address: 36 East 20th Street (between Park and Broadway)
  • phone number: (212) 777-8448
  • website:

Il Mulino is one of the most classic restaurants in New York City; it is formal, it is celebrated, and it is delicious.  When you dine at Il Mulino, the whole evening has a rather “special occasion” feel, and the prices echo that sentiment, so unless you are a Master of the Universe or have extremely deep pockets (in which case, call me) Il Mulino is not the type of the place that you can go to more than once a week.  Enter Trattoria Il Mulino, the original’s lighter, brighter, slicker sibling that has its feathers fluffed to attract the younger crowd that lives and works in Grammercy/Flatiron.

Here’s the story: Sister and a gaggle of girls had gone to TIM (Trattoria Il Mulino) one night for dinner and had a terrible terrible service experience; they were hidden at a table completely obscured by a column and subjected to inattentive and demeaning staff.  Naturally,  Sister and her friends were in a tizzy and like any one else under the age of 30 took to Twitter to express their frustration and shock, mainly because they had no other outlet- there was no staff that cared enough to even listen to them.  Yadda Yadda publicist reaches out, yadda yadda, we know the publicist, yadda yadda, everyone meets for lunch to try the joint (again) and for a small reunion.  Since the lunch was my only experience,  that meal is the basis for this review.

The space is light and airy, sort of long with a larger dining space in the back;  slightly metallic industrial feel, completely different from the original.  We had exceptional service this meal (don’t forget that we were with the VIP publicist), and the food was delicious straight-forward Italian.  As intended, this is an easy spot in the neighborhood to hit up on any occasion- date night, girls night out, grabbing a quick bite- similar to the neighborhood Ital joints that line the UES.  The food is made for sharing, and over indulging, as we did during lunch…what we ate: ( This food is very photogenic, but I guess Italian food looks good in red…)

Freebies- resistance is futile, just factor some soppresata, eggplant mush and foccacia into your calorie count for the meal…

Meatballs- the ricotta meatballs taste homemade, the ricotta keeping them a little ligther; bright tomato sauce and extra ricotta make them complete

Trattoria Il Mulino
Just Beet It…

Beet Salad- I have to really be in the mood for beets, but this was a nice clean salad, with a bit of citrus and gorgonzola

trattoria il mulino
And it smells even better…

Pizza- We had a mushroom pizza with a drizzle of some truffle oil- did the trick as far as a pizza, this one arrived very hot and melty, but not the best in town…Perfect bet to share as a starter

There's lobster in there
There’s lobster in there

Parpadelle Lobster Marinara- Lots of lobster, delicate ribbons of parpadelle, all covered in a fresh marinara, what could be bad? Needed a little bit more kick…

trattoria Il mulino nyc
Name’s Parm, chicken Parm

Chicken parm-This was a great dish, a large portion, very thin and full of flavor; I could have used a little bit more of the zesty tomato sauce and I am not really sure what kind of cheese they used on it, but let’s be clear I took home what I didn’t finish

Gnoochi in Bolognese Sauce-nice light gnoochi, hearty bolognese, happy tummy

So looks like second time is a charm at Trattoria Il Mulino.  Honestly if it hadn’t been for the proactive outreach, we might not have given this place a second shot, but we are definitely glad that we did.   There is very little that some apologizing and some pizza can’t fix, just ask our significant others….

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