By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
Eggplant parmigiana ($15.95). Nothing technically wrong with this one. Several layers of eggplant are interspersed with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It's cooked through and served hot. Could use a pinch of oomph in the spicing.
Fettuccine with mushrooms and sausage ($15.95). Here's where you'd joyfully fork over some extra cash for a bit of finesse in the presentation. The dish is humongous, and it's uniformly grayish-brown. The weird, thin rectangle of sausage is rhino-colored; so are the mushrooms; ditto the sauce coating the pachydermishly hued pasta. The whole thing is about as cheerful as a late January afternoon in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, you can't skip it with a clear conscience because it tastes pretty good, in a gloopy, heavy, mushroomy, creamy kind of way. The unfortunate B., forced into this sticky embrace by the absence of his beloved veal piccata (they'd run out that night), ate it all, along with six or seven defiantly garlicky rolls dripping with oil. I didn't ask how he slept that night.
Bucatini mare monte ($16.95). I'd also like to take several thousand pounds of Mulino's house-made bucatini to my desert island, although I wouldn't need the mare (more overly blackened shrimp) or the monte (mushrooms, mushrooms everywhere) or even the shaved ricotta. I agree with J., who said he'd rather eat these exquisite and dense round noodles tossed in some good olive oil with a little parsley, basil, and grated Parmesan. Woeful news it is, then, that Mulino won't serve the bucatini that way, either as a substitution or a side order. We can only dream.
Zuppa di pesce ($21.95). Shellfish and other marine life served over extra-tender linguine that absorbs its red sauce. It's a little bland for my palate, but A. said it was the most comforting of comfort foods, and J. raved about the melting quality of the pasta. I'm no fan of any of the seafood I tasted at Mulino with the exception of the excellent sea bass, but the calamari rings in the zuppa were tender; the shrimp, fish chunks, and mussels were palatable; and altogether, there was a nice, subtle undercurrent of shellfish broth.
Warm vanilla bread pudding with Gran Marnier custard. Just kidding! If you can eat dessert after all this, you're a trooper. Feel free to let me know how much you liked it... And also how Mrs. Fracatelli, your next-door neighbor, thought it was too sweet and not at all like the one she used to always order when her sister lived on Miami Beach, etc., etc.