RPM Italian | River North | Italian | Restaurant
Lobster caprese

Lobster caprese

Anjali Pinto

Italian restaurant from the second-generation Melmans in conjunction with reality show couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic.

Our Review

If your idea of a night out is to worry about what everyone else is wearing, may I recommend RPM, the sprawling new spot from Melman siblings R.J., Jerrod, and Molly, and the vapid, reality TV celebricouple Bill and Giuliana Rancic? It would be easy to dismiss this as yet another shallow River North birdbath for the likes that frequent Paris Club and Hub 51, but that's only if you neglect to note the "P" in RPM, which stands for Doug Psaltis, the chef, who worked for Alain Ducasse and in a number of well-regarded Manhattan restaurants before joining Empire Lettuce for better (L2O) and perhaps worse (Paris Club). His menu is nearly evenly composed of pastas, small plates, and larger steakhouse-style offerings such as whole grilled branzino and a 38-ounce bistecca Fiorentina for two ($118). And there's some good stuff here, more than enough to make a decent meal, particularly a tuna carpaccio bolstered by the acidic tang of fermented black garlic, squid ink spaghetti tossed with chile and sweet king crab meat, ribbons of cold poached veal dressed in creamy tuna sauce, and huge cross sections of grilled octopus tentacle, steaklike and dressed with celery and pureed chickpea. Some things, like the irregularly sized arancini or the soft prime-beef meatballs, look like they'd been molded by a practiced nonna's hand, though I couldn't imagine anyone's grandma putting out the dry stuffing balls advertised as eggplant polpettine. In terms of the food this might be the most winnable restaurant yet from the Melman siblings. But that's not enough to get me back inside. Read the full review >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover


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