I’m #blessed to have a foodie bestie who starts lining up places to eat the next time I visit, right after I leave. RPM Italian in Chicago’s River North neighborhood boasts a modern, contemporary, shareable menu featuring local ingredients wherever possible. Read on for what we ordered, a review on the dishes + service, and overall rating of RPM Italian!
We were last in Chicago the previous fall, and now we got a chance to explore some places this spring. The first is one of a pair of restaurants (RPM Italian & RPM Steak) by celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, Chef Doug Psaltis, RJ, Jerrod and Molly Melman. Giuliana is Italian, born in Naples, and I expect the inspiration for this cuisine of this restaurant may come from her taste.
Visit RPM Italian online or
at 52 W. Illinois St. Chicago, IL.
If you have Spotify, listen to this lovely album and get in the mood for Italian food, romance.
For a party of 3 + toddler – we ordered :
RPM Caesar Wedge Salad with White Anchovy – excellent dressing, flavorful, fresh to begin our meal.
Potato Gnocchi with Ramp Pesto and Aged Goat Cheese – Gnocchi is a go-to pasta dish when I eat out. I love the texture and bite when done well. We weren’t sure about the taste profile of Ramp Pesto and Aged Goat Cheese, but this was my favorite dish of the night. Plus, the Ramps (similar to a green onion or leek) added a bright flavor with earthy notes, and the aged goat cheese was more mild, a little nutty, and more like a hard cheese like a parmesan dusted on top than a stronger goat cheese.
Eggplant Parmesan – You may be familiar with veal parmesan, or chicken parmesan but eggplant parmesan is actually the original way Italians enjoy this layered dish. The eggplant parmesan highlighted the flavors of the eggplant and was prepared and layered very well. It is a balanced dish, and I highly recommend it as a hearty pasta option that isn’t too heavy. The sauce was very nice, and it comes in a cast iron pan after being cooked in a wood fire stove.
Short Rib Bolognese – The sauce makes the bolognese. Well, so does the bite of the pasta – how well the thickness of the noodles complements the thickness and spice of the sauce. This dish features hand-cut pappardelle (a flat long noodle) and rosemary.
Nebbiolo Red Wine – deep, balanced, delicious and fruit forward without excess sweetness.
The whole grilled branzino looked delicious as well, although we did not have it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for dessert, but if we had, I would have liked to try any of these combinations:
Sauternes dessert wine + Acquerello Rice Pudding
Tea + Toasted Almond Panna Cotta with Mieli Honey and Raspberries
La Colombe coffee + Bomboloni (italian donut bites with nutella and vanilla sugar)
or, my go -to
any of the sorbettos or gelatos – creamsicle (fior di latte + blood orange) or pistachio (wild italian strawberries and sicilian pistachios) or vanilla prosecco and ruby red grapefruit sorbetto
Notes on Service:
The service was excellent, and they accomodated food allergy and a child expertly. Despite the upscale dining, RPM’s having a kid’s cup on hand proved a helpful detail and made it easier and they also offered us a booth with ample room for the little one to move around. They also have a gluten free menu here – most impressively, they have a gluten free fettucine ready to go so guests can still enjoy the delicious Italian fare. The pasta portions are smaller, which is in keeping with traditional Italian way of enjoying a meal where pasta isn’t the centerpiece, but rather, one course of a diverse meal.
The decor was chic with dark tones and it is a great spot to meet one-one, have a casual drink, gather with a small group, or even have a small party – they have rooms that are off to the side but still very much within the overall vibe of the restaurant.
Until next time,