Il Mulino Prime (331 West Broadway; 212-226-0020) is Il Mulino’s first concept outside of its traditional Italian category, and so interior designer Rozhia Tabnak and her partner Lee Katzoff looked to a legendary American author with a proclivity for hunting wild game for inspiration: Ernest Hemingway.
This is a romantic, inviting corner spot, not an old guard steakhouse where a strict suit and tie policy apply. Hemingway passages and white ceramic animal heads bedeck white-washed brick walls, the latter a subtle nod to the author’s hunting days and the chop house fare here. “What Lee and I believe in is a modern approach,” says Tabnak. “We like the food to shine, the service to shine. All of the functionality has to be perfect. They (the customers) have specific expectations, and they’re used to it.”
Hemingway’s quotes also litter a menu, which is filled with dishes like bison ribeye and short rib ravioli. The “quotes were dear to us because we really wanted to engage with the audience in a subtle way,” says Tabnak. Look, too, for filet mignon and a two-pound porterhouse for two. And despite the American current here, you’ll also find Italian specialties on the list, like chicken with a parmesan crust and spaghettini.
Pair your dinner to a Hemingway daiquiri (naturally) or a negronis at tables; the small bar near the entranceway provides a good vantage point for people-watching on West Broadway.