Part of the romance of D.C. Restaurant Week is the ability to get your meager budget into venues where only the rich and glam frequently dine. It's like reality TV for the tastebuds.
Located squarely in downtown D.C., Il Mulino (1110 Vermont Ave. N.W.) fit the bill. But the prix fixe menu wasn’t particularly appetizing: a mixed salad; eggplant rolled over a thick blend of crab and shrimp, in a bed of lukewarm tomato-basil sauce; and a cold-plated (but strangely warm) Italian cheesecake varietal.
Bland, boring and utterly unremarkable, the entire meal could have come from anyone's kitchen -- and we could have saved ourselves the trouble of going out.
The most remarkable item to eat was the on-the-table appertif of red pepper-sprinkled fried zucchini. It was surprising and refreshing, but also free. Yep, the best thing they had to offer was something free. Go figure!
Service vacillated between smothering (water) and agonizingly slow (entrée). A nice glass of Pinot helped carry us through the long lag times between plates, but for $16 a glass it certainly should have. At least the complementary glass of grappa was a nice touch.
While the experience was perhaps worth $35.09 to some, for us it was a resounding no.