Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Wine Tasting and a Disappointing Dinner

On Thursday night, we had a crazy evening lined up.  We had to go out to the suburbs to Cuvee Cellars (545 Spring Road, Elmhurst, IL and its website is for the Halleck wine tasting, then we had to come back to the city to go to our final Restaurant Week reservation at Il Mulino.  John, the owner of Cuvee, had been talking up the Halleck tasting for weeks, so my expectations were very high for the tasting.  Unfortunately for me, I was just getting over a cold, so my tasting capabilities were not nearly as high as they usually are.  Nonetheless, the tasting was awesome, and I can't wait to try it again when my faculties are all together. 

The best wine that they served was the Hillside Pinot Noir.  It was soft, smooth, and juicy, perhaps even a little buttery.  They will have this one on the menu this month, so I will definitely try this one again.  The other wine that I really enjoyed was the Sauvignon Blanc.  Upon smelling the wine, I didn't think that I would like it at all, but it ended up having some very nice citrusy flavors.  We flew through the tasting so we could make it to our dinner reservation, but in retrospect, I wish we hadn't left.

However, hindsight is 20/20, and we did leave.  Il Mulino is located at 1150 N. Dearborn and its website is  We got to Il Mulino shortly before our 9:00 reservation, but that did not seem to be a problem for them.  The restaurant is located in the old Biggs Mansion, so it has some Chicago history behind it, which was pretty cool.  The dining room is absolutely beautiful with classic elegance abounding. 

For an appetizer, I ordered the Eggplant Rollatine.  Essentially this was a thinly sliced eggplant that was rolled around some spinach and mozzerella cheese and baked.  It was then covered with a tomato sauce.  This eggplant dish was decent, but not great.  I don't usually like eggplant that much, and this didn't necessarily make me rethink my position on it.  Sadly, this may have been the best dish that I had here.

My next dish, the one I was looking forward to for weeks, was a porcini ravioli in a cream-champagne sauce with black truffles.  That pretty much sounds like the best thing possible.  To me, at least, it sounds like it would be difficult to screw up.  The sauce was pretty good, but the rest of the dish was a complete flop.  The pasta portion of the ravioli was mushy and overcooked and the porcini filling was also mush and somehow not flavorful (I'm not sure how you can sap the flavor from porcini mushrooms, but they did it).  The sauce was nicely tart and creamy, but not overly delicious.  I could not even taste or see any black truffle in the sauce, so perhaps they just forgot it.  I was sorely disappointed over this dish.  However, it was still better than Michelle's dish, which was surprisingly terrible.  She got braised chicken with a red wine sauce and potatoes.  The sauce completely overpowered everything, but the kicker was that the sauce was really bitter and not good.  If it was overpowered by a good tasting sauce, I probably wouldn't have been too upset over it, but that simply wasn't the case.

Finally, I finished off with an amaretto cheesescake (another thing that seems hard to screw up).  It was soaked with amaretto and completely mushy.  It really was quite terrible.

The end of the story is that I am extremely glad that I was only paying Restaurant Week prices as opposed to the usual price.  Il Mulino, I will not be returning to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment