RPM Steak – 66 W Kinzie
When I first heard about RPM Italian’s opening a few years ago, a joint venture between the Melmans and the Rancics, I was dubious to say the least. I expected the scene to attract a certain type of crowd and scene that’s not really my cup of tea, but I also didn’t expect the food to deliver either. Surprisingly, though, RPM Italian has become one of our favorite go-to Italian joints – the scene is the scene, but the food is a great range of solidly done classics and interesting modern takes on Italian staples.
When RPM Steak was announced, for some reason, I was equally skeptical. Maybe a bit less, but wasn’t sure what to expect. We made it there a few weekends ago, and were again, pleasantly surprised, treated to a stellar meal, so much that we went back a week later when a friend of Sara’s came into town.
Over the two visits, we got a lot of food so I’ll be brief.
The Parker House Rolls are a must get. They don’t do bread service, so if you want it, you’re stuck paying $8 for the bread. It seems to be a trend now these days, between paying for bread and ice in drinks, restaurants seem to be nickel and diming us just like the airlines, but these definitely deliver and are worth paying the extra dollars for. Stunning in presentation, warm, slightly toasty on the outside with a soft, buttery texture on the inside. Served with a slightly salted Nordic butter, these are a hit.
For appetizers, we got a good variety. The slightly charred toro from the raw bar was alright, one of the more lackluster dishes of the night. The shrimp cocktail was solid and *HUGE* – very meaty and with good flavor. The coal-roasted crab is another highlight of our visits – nicely cooked and pre-sliced, making it easy to split. It was gently sauced with a buttery sauce with hints of lime and coriander. Fantastic.
On to the steaks…which usually is what makes or breaks a steakhouse for me. Both times, we got pre-sliced steaks.
Both were bone-in ribeye – the first, a 42oz tomahawk Wagyu, and the second a 24 oz dry-aged cowboy chop. Now I’m usually a bit partial to the earthier flavor of the dry-aged cuts, so I thought the dry-aged ribeye had a deeper flavor. I didn’t notice a significant difference in the quality of the meat with the Wagyu, so if you’re looking for an excuse to splurge, I would recommend sticking to the dry-aged cuts. Precut, it’s easier to split between people, but I prefer to have an uncut steak that keeps the heat in a bit longer.
For sides, we got
Highlights of the sides were the Hasselbeck potato and the roasted sweet corn. The Hasselbeck was sliced to a perfect crispy thinness with an appealing presentation, the roasted corn topped with a chipotle lime butter – the lime gave it good hints of flavor without being overpowering. FInally, the mushrooms were both solid – the first time we picked the hen o’ the woods (not pictured), the second trip the cauliflower mushrooms
Finally, for dessert
For dessert, we got the Hazelnut Souffle – a wonderfully flavored souffle dish, a little thick, but well seasoned. Unfortunately they removed it from the menu by the time our second visit rolled around, however, there are still a good selection of souffles on the menu.
The second dessert was a baked Alaska that we ordered on both trips. Between our two visits they decided it would be a good idea to flambe the dessert, adding a nice touch. Ice cream topped with caramelized merengue is a perfect mix to end the night.
RPm does everything extremely well top to bottom. THe apeetizers, sides, and desserts match up to anywhere in the city. I felt like the steaks came up just short of my favorites, Mastro’s and David Burke’s Primehouse. Still it’s a place that is worth checking out and/or going back to. Get the Parker House Rolls and the Coal-Roasted Crab . The dry-aged cuts were my preference, particularly the Tomahawk. Cost is pricey, but not absurdly so. It’s a steakhouse in River North – you should know what to expect…