We are past the halfway point of Miami Spice. You know what that means? You only have a short time left to have a three-course feast. Not sure where to go? Take a drive to Sunny Isles beach for some scenery and an exquisite Miami Spice dinner that would otherwise never be possible at $39.
Il Mulino has history, New York kind of history. Located at the Aqualina towers, the place looks like a Rolls Royce dealership. The restaurant is as fancy as it gets. A Maitre'd welcomes you, while a captain (server) guides you through culinary wonderland.
See also: Miami Spice at J&G Grill: Just Grand
Sit down and before you even have the chance to glance at a menu, you're overwhelmed with options. Two baskets of bread, a slab of parmiggiano, fried zucchini, bruschetta with mussels, and spicy salami make for the perfect antipasti. And it's all complimentary.
Order and your pasta gets prepped and sautéed table-side, your branzino sliced fresh, and professionally cleaned so there's no waste. These are all very difficult things to do while wearing a tuxedo, with a white shirt nonetheless, and executed with nothing less than impeccable tact. The same as the food.
A cheesy welcome makes you feel giddy, and excited for the meal that awaits.
Caprese features fresh buffalo mozzarella with sliced tomato and basil. Other appetizer options include a classic spinach salad with bacon and mushrooms, mussels with white site sauce or spicy marinara, or parpadelle pomodoro drenched in fresh tomato and basil sauce (pictured below). Possibly the best cooked pasta I've ever eaten. You can attribute that to the tableside sautee.
Captain recommends the rigatoni a bolognese. It has braised veal in addition to meat and tomato sauce. This dish will change the way you see and think about rigatoni, which is actually a great choice for meat sauce because all the meat gets unintentionally - or intentionally - stuffed in the pasta. Get salmon sautéed in light garlic over broccoli rabe, scaloppine alla romana with artichokes, pancetta, mushrooms and asparagus, or a sliced New York strip steak sliced and served with roasted rosemary potatoes.
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A dense risotto ai porcini (there's also ravioli) has champagne truffle cream sauce to bring it together. Packed with flavor, the dish is tough to finish, not because you don't want to but because you're already so full. And then you remember, dessert still awaits you. So take your entree to go, and indulge in sweetness.
Tiramisu, homemade cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake, and panna cotta are your dessert options. The homemade mascarpone cheesecake was our favorite - perfectly moist. Had enough? You still got one last thing coming your way - grappa. Complimentary after dinner drinks act as the cherry on top of an old-school Italian feast. Say thank you to Maitre d' John and Manager Fernan. They'll just say thank you right back.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha