As I stepped into RPM Italian for my 8:30pm reservation last Monday, I didn’t expect the dining room to be packed, but it was. Since RPM Italian opened earlier than expected in late February it’s been nearly impossible to get a reservation, and even more impossible to show up unannounced and expect to be seated in the next hour. Fortunately, my sister happened across a random (most likely a last minute cancellation) opening for a Monday evening reservation on OpenTable.com. For any other restaurant I wouldn’t have canceled my glamorous Monday evening…aka working out and then catching up on my DVR’d shows. But this was an opportunity I wasn’t able to turn down, I know people who are waiting another month for their Monday night reservation there.
My sister and I felt super important as we were seated almost immediately at one of the best seats in the house. Right in the middle of restaurant, in a large booth where we could people watch to our hearts delight. This could have had something to do with the fact that I’m an awesome blogger with excellent PR contacts. I ordered a glass of mellow red wine, and before we could even decide what to order, a serving of their warm bread with fresh homemade ricotta, tomato and fresh shaved black truffles. Something that was delightful about the dish was that the truffles were not overpowering, the ricotta was like a cloud, and the acidity of the tomato balanced it well. Sometimes bread is hit or miss at a restaurant and we were lucky enough to get slices that were well done, and not too burnt or too soft.
Next we decided on ordering the RPM Caesar wedge salad with fried capers, diced egg, polenta croutons, shaved parmesan and a Caesar dressing that was mostly on the bottom of the plate. I really liked this, because the dressing was almost on the side, but not quite. I’ve never heard of, nor had fried capers before and both my sister and I agreed that they might have been our favorite part of the salad. We also both found it quite easy to share since the wedge was pre-cut and so when we split it up, the toppings didn’t fly everywhere. I also normally hate, I mean HATE, boiled and diced egg. This time though, I didn’t seem to find any large chunks, not a lot of yolk and the egg actually gave a little bit more body to the salad which I enjoyed. *This picture is courtesy of another blog I read called "Jeff Eats Chicago" Unfortunately we were so excited about the salad I forgot to snap a photo before we ate it!
After the wedge we took a little break to decide what we would like next. The service throughout the evening was very courteous and the servers, wait staff and bussers were all very on top of their game. I don’t think there was a time when my water glass was less than half full. After browsing the menu a little more we decided to split two smaller pastas instead of opting for a larger steak or main course. We ordered the gnocci al forno which was unlike any other gnocci I’ve had before and you’ve probably even imagined. Unlike normal gnocci, it was not made from potatoes, but semolina flour instead and had a perfectly finished gorgonzola and sage glaze on top. The gnocci nearly melted in my mouth and was soft and pillowy.
To finish off the savory aspect of the meal we asked the waitress what her favorite pasta on the menu was. She jumped at telling us that she loved both the duck agnolotti with brussel sprouts and mission figs, and the prosciutto pansotti with mascarpone and rosemary. After taking a few minutes to agonize over our decision we chose the pansotti. Five little packages soon appeared filled with smokey prosciutto, mascarpone, rosemary and swimming in a lightly browned butter sauce. Those who know me well can tell you I have a “thing” with browned butter sauce. I really liked that you could taste the rosemary in the dish, but it wasn’t too overpowering, nor was the smokiness of the prosciutto.
Unable to stuff ourselves anymore, we considered retiring before dessert, but out came the dessert menu and we rallied. As many of my readers know I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, so that automatically eliminated several things from the menu. Then our waitress pointed out the “rice pudding”. Rice pudding is a unique dessert all on its own, but RPM mixed theirs with ice cream and topped it with cinnamon making it even more interesting. Normally, one probably wouldn’t imagine cold, cooked rice, mixed with sweet vanilla ice cream and topped with cinnamon to be exactly delectable, but that’s exactly what the dish was. There was also an air of mystery to it, there was definitely another ingredient I just couldn’t point my finger on that brought it all together.
Overall RPM was a great experience. If you’re looking for a place to see and been seen this is the place to go. My sister is pretty convinced she saw a playboy bunny in the restaurant the night we dined there. The crowd was definitely mixed on a Monday evening: families, couples, girlfriends, bromances, and more made Giuliana and Bill’s new restaurant feel like a welcoming place for all…at least on a Monday night…Saturday, might be a whole other story, but that is for another blog! (photo by Anjali Pinto)
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