I’m generally not a fan of the restaurants around town where it’s cool to be seen. However, two of my friends had $100 gift cards to a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant in the city and invited me to join them at RPM Italian. A girl just can’t turn that down.
RPM is your classic chic spot in River North donned in all black and white (even the servers are wearing white sport coats). It’s undeniably a beautiful space and without a doubt, jammed packed with people at all hours (we could only grab a 10:15 pm reservation). Although, a friend gave me a tip to grab their earliest dinner reservation on a Sunday (3-3:30) because it’s a great post (drinking) night spot to dine and you don’t have to be up for the brunch crowd. Ninja star awarded.
RPM is a great first date spot (you are already dressed to impress) or for a fun night on the town with your boo. It’s fun to get dressed up every once in awhile. The music isn’t over the top and compliments the scene. I’ll give it a star even though I doubt this would be at the top of my date list. Although, I wouldn’t turn it down!
Everything was plated with careful thought and precision in mind to enhance the aesthetic experience and minimize our time spent talking and maximize our time spent eating/clawing over each other to get every morsel. Ninja star awarded.
There is so much to write about in this section. My friends gave me free reign to pretty much order whatever I wanted given that I had read a fair amount about the restaurant. Here is the low down of what we tried:
- Imported Burrata
- 600-Day Prosciutto
- Truffled Garlic Bread
- Polenta with Poached Egg
- Prime Beef Meatballs
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Avocado
- Short Rib Pappardelle
- Wild Boar Sausage
- Corn Agnolotti
All that food…for THREE people. Let’s start breaking some of this down. The first consisted of the burrata, prosciutto, garlic bread, and Arancini. The first three combine to create a mind blowing sandwich. I could have stopped right here. The burrata was so fresh and the prosciutto was of extremely high quality (I’ve eaten A LOT of prosciutto in my day).
The Arancini are smaller than your typical rice ball that you will find in Italy. However, these little rice balls packed a punch of flavor and were easily some of the best Arancini I’ve had in the states. I just wish I could get an XL version as well.
Next came the polenta, the meatballs, and the salad. The polenta was creamy and rich. The poached egg created a smooth sauce for the polenta that just deepened the depth of flavor. The meatballs were delicious but I would have preferred a bit more red wine mixed in to add a little sharpness and contrast to the beef flavor.
Now the salad… I read a lot about this salad. This is not something I would normally order but people raved about this and none of us really cared for it. I don’t see what all the fuss was about.
As for the pastas, the short rib and the corn stood out.
Surprisingly, the corn agnolotti was the super star. The sweetness of the fresh corn with the pasta was light and perfect for summer. The wild boar sausage is made in house but was a bit too spicy and lacked any other real flavor.
Ninja star awarded.
One of my friends isn’t a sweets kind of guy but I always have room for dessert. I’ve spoken before about how I’m obsessed with pistachio gelato so I had to try RPM’s. We also took the plunge and ordered the Tartufo with hazelnut gelato and a chocolate shell.
The gelato portion was HUGE and I loved the whole pistachios thrown into the mix. I couldn’t stop eating it despite feeling like I was going to slip into a food coma at any moment.
The Tartufo reminds me of an ice cream version of those delicious hazelnut Roche candies. This was delicious but rich. I’d stick to the pistachio gelato next time.
Ninja star well deserved.
Overall, RPM delivers in taste while allowing for some trendy people watching. RPM comes in at 8/9 ninja stars.
I’ll be back!
Till next time, peace out food ninjas!