2/20/13

RPM Italian: Chicago

Outside of RPM Italian Restaurant in Chicago at night
Giuliana and Bill Rancic crack me up!  They have a show on the Style Network aptly named Giuliana and Bill.  I think I enjoy it so much because they remind me of me and my husband (minus the tons of $$ and super skinny body)!  As part of the show, I have seen them go through many things including Giuliana's breast cancer, the issues of infertility, moving as many times as we have and on a much lighter note, the opening of their first restaurant in Chicago called RPM Italian.  My husband knew I wanted to eat there at some point, so as a surprise on our twentieth anniversary weekend, he made reservations for what seemed to be the best seat in the place.  We had such a great time together celebrating our special occasion and enjoying food inspired by Mama DePandi!


Interior of RPM Italian

We arrived pretty much right after they opened, so we could have lots of time to check it out, sit at the bar and have a few drinks and just make the experience last.  My eyes are closed in the picture, not sure why we didn't do a retake!  I moved to that booth for the picture, we actually sat right at the bar.  The bartender was super helpful and what I like to call "Chicago friendly".  ;)

Bar area of RPM Italian Restaurant in Chicago

I was in a cocktail mood, so after checking out their cocktail menu, I decided to go with the Milano Mule.  I discovered Ginger Beer when I was in Bermuda and love it.  To be honest, I had no idea what the other stuff in the drink was, but the bartender explained and it all sounded good.  It tasted good too!  She also wanted me to try the Sergio Leone, which I ended up doing once we sat down at our table.  It was also quite tasty.

cocktail menu at RPM ItalianMilano Mule cocktail at the bar of RPM Italian Restaurant in Chicago






Once we were seated in our booth, we had a great view of the entire restaurant.  I am a people watcher, so I loved being able to see everything like that.  I really enjoyed the decor of the restaurant, especially the lights, the half circle booths that faced out and the white on the seats.  Our fantastic waitress, Jascia, brought us two glasses of Prosecco, on the house, because of our anniversary.  Very nice, RPM!

sitting in our booth at RPM Italian Restaurant

Time to eat!
Menu at RPM Italian restaurant

We started with a Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad.  The menu insinuates that it comes with avocado, but I couldn't figure out where they put it, if it was there at all.  I love Brussels Sprouts, but the lemony dressing on this salad was just too overpowering.  Next time, I will try Giuliana's Italian Salad.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad at RPM

For our second appetizer, we picked one artisanal salumi (Sopresata) and one imported cheese (pecorino sardo).  They were served on a little marble tray with a relish and bread.  They were good, especially with the relish, cheese and bread all put together. 


Notice how the menu is divided into three sections: small plates or appetizers, pasta and risotto, and the entrees with side dishes.  This is because the pastas and risottos aren't full portion sizes.  They are meant to be eaten before the entree.  We HAD to order Mama DePandi's Bucatini Pomodoro.  So glad we did.  It was the highlight of the night. I have never had a better pasta!  I only wished there was more.

Mama DePandi's Bucatini Pomodoro pasta at RPM Italian

For our entree we ordered the Whole Grilled Branzino (which is a Mediterranean Sea Bass) with a side of Kale and Pancetta.  The Kale was tasty and I felt really good eating such a healthy side dish, but we were a little disappointed in the Branzino.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing either.  In fact, if it didn't have this fantastic green sauce to go with it (can't believe I don't remember what they called it) I'm not sure we would have liked it as much as we did.  The main reason being that it was bland on its own.  I also ordered the Sergio Leone with our entree.  I've never had a drink with an egg white frothed like that, but I really enjoyed it.

Whole Grilled Branzino which is a Mediterranean Sea Bass

Sergio Leone cocktail

Whole Grilled Branzino with a green sauce and Kale with Pacetta

Time for dessert!

So there are eight dessert choices on the RPM menu and we went a little crazy and had four of them.  Have I mentioned how much my husband and I love dessert?  They were all good, but there was a stand out winner.  Check out the pictures below and see which one you think will win.

Bill's Chocolate Budino with salted caramel and cocoa nibs
Raspberry sorbetto
Bill's Chocolate Budino with salted caramel and cocoa nibs along with Raspberry Sorbetto. (above) Baked Canoli (below) and under that, a dessert that RPM calls the Tartufo, which is hazelnut gelato in a chocolate shell.   

Baked Canoli with chocolate and orange

Tartufo: a hazelnut gelato with a chocolate shell

And the winner is.....

Inside the Tarfufo is hazelnut gelato

The Tartufo was filled with a hazelnut gelato and that center dark part had an almost nutella flavor.  It was yummy.  The only dessert we finished.  Although, that's not saying much, if we actually finished all four of those desserts that would have been insane!  We really just wanted to try them.  If you can't be crazy on your twentieth anniversary, when can you be?  It was a great night and we plan to go back.  My son is dying to try Mama DePandi's pasta.  Next time I would change a few things that I ordered, but I would for sure go back to RPM Italian.  By the way, the night after we went, Lady Gaga went there to eat.  Would have been cool to run into her, but I'm kind of glad we had the night to ourselves. :)


22 comments:

  1. What a fabulous evening. You two are a gorgeous couple <3

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    1. That's so sweet! We did have a great evening. Luckily, we both share a love of good food so we have so much fun picking from the menu and trying new things.

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  2. Happy WIAW! Yum! Looks like a great meal.I would love to try take pasta, it looks so tasty. And of course, the tartufo looks wonderful. Enjoy the rest of the week.

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    1. Happy WIAW to you as well! I forgot to mention in the post that the pasta was made fresh at the restaurant. So the sauce was awesome and so was the actual pasta.

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  3. It looks like you guys had a ton of fun in Chicago! The Tartufo looks aaaaamazing!

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    1. It looks cool and tastes yummy! Great combo!

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  4. Prosecco, cocktails, pasta and those fabulous desserts - the whole evening sounds heavenly. I agree, getting a good table for people watching is crucial!

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    1. Honestly, It was the best weekend we have had in a while. I need to get my husband away like that more often. I have several more places I want to try. Not waiting for the next anniversary!

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  5. YUM!! I shouldn't be reading this post and drooling over your photos before bedtime. Those desserts are to die for and that Tartufo sounds incredible. I'm a big dessert person too. This place looks great and will definitely put on my places to eat when I head to Chicago.

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    1. You should give it a try. Another great place is The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. Amazing views! Here is my post on that. http://happyhoyt.blogspot.com/2012/02/dinner-in-chicago-sky.html

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  6. I've never actually been to Chicago, but if I go, I hope to make it to this restaurant. Everything looks soooooo good! (Well... except the salad. Not a huge lemon fan here!)

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    1. It was a shame the dressing was so lemony because I LOVE brussel spouts. I think I would have really loved that salad with a different dressing...or even no dressing at all. And the funny thing is, I do love lemons! It just was so overpowering.

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  7. Omg that Tartufo looks amazing! I will have to convince the Mister to stop in Chicago on one of our trips back to the states!

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    1. Love Chicago...great city! You currently live outside of the US?

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  8. I love them!! How cool that you got to go and the food was good. Great pics and a fun log you have!
    Dena
    http://itsabouttakingthejourney.blogspot.de

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    1. Aren't they a funny couple? Yes, it was cool to see it all on tv and then actually eat there. Speaking of tv, I just read your post about that crazy tv show you were watching. I have always been shocked when I turn on the tv in my European hotel rooms. Crazy stuff!

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  9. This was an awesome night out. I have to say that Bill's Chocolate Budino with salted caramel and cocoa nibs was a close 2nd (on ranking the desserts). For those of you who like sweet and salty, it might jump to the best dessert of the night! Todd Hoyt

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    1. I thought that was pretty bitter even though I LOVE dark chocolate. I remember that I liked it better when I mixed it with the raspberry sorbetto. Actually all the desserts were pretty darn yummy!

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  10. Happy Anniversary! Sounds you like had an amazing night out. What an awesome hubbie you have there ;)
    p.s. Those are some seriously spectacular desserts!

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    1. Thank you! It was a great night with some yummy food. I told my husband, I wished every weekend we could celebrate like that.

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  11. Happy Anniversary! I so want that Tartufo -- yum!

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    1. Thanks, Marion! You know it was yummy if we ate it all after all that other food. That is the sign of a really good dessert!

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