Bistecca by Il Mulino – Mount Pocono

If you’re looking for a gourmet dining experience while visiting the Pocono region, BISTECCA by Il Mulino is a must.  Located on the casino level of Mount Airy Hotel and Spa, this steakhouse offers patrons an intimate setting and high-end experience based on the heritage of the infamous Italian trattoria of Il Mulino New York.

The restaurant interior features hardwood floors, dark wood, leather booths, and unique artwork that lines the walls, all of which is complemented by the gold hue of low lighting.  A hostess stand and a small bar grace the entranceway, and attentive staff quickly fall into place to make your dining experience a memorable one.  If you weren’t feeling particularly special before you arrived, there’s no doubt you will by the time the wait staff takes your drink order.

Expect the leather-bound menu to feature culinary creations designed to tickle your tastebuds.  The restaurant is renowned for its seafood dishes, hand-crafted pasta, and farm fresh vegetables, as well as superior cuts of meat.  It also offers an extensive wine list.

With all menu items priced à la carte, appetizers run between $13 – $28 (USD) and include such dishes as Crispy Calamari, Baked Clams Oreganato, Jumbo Lump Crabcakes, Seared Spanish Octopus and an assortment of salads.  For starters, we opted for a Classic Caesar Salad with shaved parmigiano and an order of Roasted Beets with goat cheese.  Both were fresh and flavoursome, liberal with the cheese accompaniment, and with portions far larger than we anticipated.  The size of the starters set the pace because entrees are also unexpectedly large, as is dessert.

Pro Tip:  If you’re not feeling particularly hungry when you attend this restaurant, you might want to consider making a meal of just one or two appetizers, or skip the appetizer completely and opt only for an entree. Otherwise, you can expect to take a fair portion of your meal home in a container the wait staff will provide for you. 

Entrees include a variety of pasta dishes ($25 and up), Seafood for Two ($75), chicken, veal, lamb, and salmon ($25 – $39) and a selection of U.S.D.A. prime beef aged 28 days.  You cannot go wrong with the filet mignon or rib eye, but our personal favourite was the New York Strip ($62), which was well marbled, tender, and cooked to perfection.

Pro Tip:  If you like Chicken Parmigiano, you will absolutely LOVE it at Bistecca. We had heard several people rave about this particular entree so we knew we had to try it.  We were not disappointed.  Bite for bite it was a tender and tangy flavour explosion with a portion fit for a king. We highly recommend this as a main dish.

Side dishes include truffle fries, mashed potatoes, baked potato, sauteed spinach, honeyed carrots, roasted acorn squash, and mushrooms, all priced at $9.  If you wish to add something a little more substantial as a side dish, there are seafood options such as Alaskan King Crab Legs, Jumbo Shrimp, and Lobster Mac & Cheese ($12 – $23).  Bistecca also offers a wide variety of sauces as toppings, including Bernaise, Peppercorn, Mint and a Barolo Demi-Glace, which allows diners to personalize their entrees.

Moving onto dessert, patrons have five sinfully sweet choices of Tiramisu, Ricotta Zeppole, Torta Di Mascarpone and Frutta Di Bosco Con Zabaglione ($9 – $12).  But as wonderful as they all look, do yourself a favour and order the Torta Di Cioccolato, which is a light and fluffy slice of whipped chocolate heaven featuring a layer of zesty raspberry syrup and accompanied by fresh raspberries and chocolate shavings on the side.  It’s a decadent wake-up, shake-up on your tongue and it’s one that should not be missed.

We also sampled the delectable Ricotta Zeppole — nothing short of bites of bliss.

It’s difficult to say how much you might spend on a meal for two people as it would all depend on what you order, and if you chose to include wine or cocktails.  Despite that the menu might look quite pricey at first, Bistecca makes up for it with the quality of food, extra large portion sizes, as well as their first rate staff.  If pressed to compare it to a somewhat similar restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse comes to mind.

Pro Tip: Do not miss Bistecca if you’re visiting the Poconos!

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