Il Mulino Gets Presidential Seal of Approval

By Victoria Cavaliere
|  Monday, Sep 21, 2009  |  Updated 11:27 AM EDT
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Il Mulino Gets Presidential Seal of Approval

AP

President Barack Obama talks with former President Bill Clinton outside a restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York, Monday.

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President Barack Obama had lunch with former President Bill Clinton after Obama's speech to the financial industry yesterday, opting for Italian in Greenwich Village and declining to make any formal statement after their nosh.

The two men dined at  Il Mulino on West Third Street.  The restaurant was closed at lunch, so they had the run of the place.

On the menu: “We had fish, pasta and salad,” Clinton said. "It was very healthy."

The two presidents spent about 90 minutes at lunch, emerged from the restaurant chatting with each other around 2:20 p.m., though reporters couldn't hear what they were saying.  

"Most of the conversation was about the economy, particularly the global economy," but they also chatted about health care,  White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said after the meeting. "I think President Obama values the type of advice that President Clinton has."

The two had a frosty relationship during last year’s presidential campaign but they have held a series of meetings, short and long, over the past month.

Il Mulino seems a fitting place to catch up on policy initiatives.  New York Magazine says it is "among New York's very best Italian restaurants" that is "Old World" in every way.  It's tough -- to near impossible -- to get reservations, in part because the phone often goes unanswered.  A recommended dish: Homemade ravioli with black truffles and creamy champagne sauce, for a mere $50

According to the the New York Post, President Obama ate capellini with shrimp and clams. President Clinton chose a branzino, or European sea bass, special, which at Il Mulino is usually stuffed with garlic and rosemary. They drank water.  Even without cocktails, Il Mulino is known to be pricey.

"I assume they split the bill,”  Gibbs said.

Obama was in New York for a speech warning Wall Street against returning to the kind of practices that threatened the nation with a second Great Depression.

Obama and Clinton last saw each other last week in New York. Both spoke at a memorial service for the late CBS anchor Walter Cronkite.

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