Back in the good old days–that’s1981 at least–when a Chelsea or SoHo loft would run you about $200,000, and the tuition at the city’s only Ivy League school came to a little under $10,000—Il Mulino opened its doors on West 3rd Street in the Village.
The restaurant quickly became a lodestar for a broad-ranging, power-centric crowd, who flocked here for the clubby atmosphere, the Abruzzo-style Italian cooking, and a lively, knowing waitstaff. Il Mulino has always been a great people watching spot since the always packed dining room is small enough to take in all the A-listers, particularly if you’ve snagged one of the roomy booths that line both sides of the restaurant. Leo Di Caprio, George Clooney, and Bill Murray are a just few of the dozens of celebrities who have stopped by; Bill Clinton famously chowed down here with President Obama. Even Drake gave a shout out to Il Mulino in his song, “Pound Cake.”
Since its opening 35 years ago, Il Mulino has expanded around the city (to SoHo, the Flatiron District, the Upper East Side, as well as to out-of-town spots like Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, and Atlantic City). To mark the restaurant’s 35th anniversary Executive Chef Michele Mazza has created a special 1981 three-course menu with some of the dishes like the langoustines served with risotto, and ravioli with Champagne truffle cream sauce, that were on the original menu at the West 3rd street location. Because Il Mulino has such a long standing clientele, there will be newer options on the birthday menu too, like the grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes and salmon porcini. Each of the courses comes with pro wine pairings. And while the menu’s cost is more Millennial than 1981, it still comes in far lower than other celeb-centric spots at $81 per person before tax and tip,. (This menu will be available at all Il Mulino locales through May.)