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RPM Italian, a Chicago-Based, Lettuce Entertain You Chain - 6th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, Mount Vernon Triangle

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I seriously had to Google this. Among other things, here's what Washingtonian said:

Quote

The splurge dish: The $165 dry-aged Florentine bistecca, which serves two-to-four. Just don’t let Rancic buddy Donald Trump do the ‘well-done’ ordering. 

The “save” dish: Mama DePandi’s $14 pasta pomodoro, which serves one person as a small appetizer (so no, not how mama would make it).

 

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3 hours ago, Lydia R said:

The splurge dish: The $165 dry-aged Florentine bistecca, which serves two-to-four. Just don’t let Rancic buddy Donald Trump do the ‘well-done’ ordering.

I mentioned the $165 steak to my vegetarian wife.  You can imagine how that conversation went over.

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I went to the opening night party for work last Monday. Super crowded with 'beautiful people' I haven't seen that much television makeup in a while! As for the food offered: I had a bite of their risotto verde on a tasting spoon. It was creamy and well-done, with strong pesto flavor. I'm super critical when it comes to risotto! I also had a bite of their housemade prosciutto tortellini which was absolutely standard. Nice bite. Well done. There was a cheese station that had varieties I've never heard of but really happy to eat. A guy carving slices of prosciutto off a giant leg like a Jamon. Nduja or salami paste spread. Lardo, out of a bowl that was untouched by everyone but me. Foccacia and crackers. All fine. The other side of the restaurant  (it's a pretty large space) had a raw bar that featured Madagascar tiger prawns that each took up over half a cocktail plate. These shrimp looked like mutant experiments, they were so big. Tasted like a normal shrimp though. On the menu they go for 15 dollars but I'm not sure if that's just one prawn. Also, basil aioli or horseradish cocktail sauce. Oysters with a fennel mignonette. Crab leg and lobster tail sections. The platter on the menu features these plus scallops for 130. The menu also offers spaghetti and meatballs for 24 dollars. Eggplant parm for 21. Short ribs and polenta for 34.  Overall I get the feeling that big law firms and lobby shops will be jockeying to have their holiday parties here. Seems more like an event space than a 'let's go here because I'm in the mood for Italian and it's a Wednesday' type place.

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I had the spicy king crab pasta.  The pasta itself was firm and perfectly cooked.  The sauce was nice, and the little bits of crab were not fishy in any way.  The spiciness was provided by thinly sliced fresno chili - so if you eat the chili, it's spicy, otherwise, it's not. 

Giant prawns were a bit overcooked.  Do Americans like their shrimp chewy?  At this point, I don't know whether to fault the restaurant or fault the palates of American diners.  I'm going to ask Tom this question.

I also had some super charred broccolini.  When it was first brought out, I thought someone was smoking in the dining room, otherwise it had little flavor.

I would go back and check out other pasta dishes, and maybe order a steak.

IMG_2683.JPGIMG_2684.JPG

 

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I absolutely adore this place. It's my favorite Italian/pasta place in the city (I haven't been to the all-star rated places like Fiola/Fiola Mare or Centrolina, but they compete at a far different price point than RPM Italian). I've now been probably six times. Cooking pasta perfectly once is easy or lucky. Doing it this many times is a mark of a great restaurant.

Let me preface this by saying I wanted to hate this place. A vaguely Trump affiliated celebrity restaurant that's associated with a national chain brand that's more expensive than I'd like for some simple stuff? Ready to pass. Fortunately (or not), it didn't work out that way.

The first time we went was opening week. The sommelier (a woman who I have sadly forgotten the name of) was extremely helpful, explained how the wine bottles were selected, and picked a fantastic Valpolicella at a price point that was reasonable. We ordered the Truffled Garlic Bread circa 1963 ($9) and Lobster Caprese ($20) to start. The bread came in about ten pieces and was divine. It was literally the perfect garlic bread. The combination of crunchy bread, garlic, truffle earthiness, and butter was absolute perfection. The lobster caprese comes with more lobster and more buffalo mozzarella than you'd expect. It's very good, but that's a dish that sort of writes itself. I had the Carbonara ($18) and my wife had the Maine Lobster Ravioli ($25). The carbonara came with an egg yolk on top, which was mixed tableside. Both dishes were superb - the flavors were on-point (note that the carbonara is more Italian-style -- no cream) and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. We shared the Pistachio Cannoli ($9) which was as good as any cannoli I had in NYC.

We've returned several times and had many dishes. Nothing was anything less than great. Standouts include the Spaghetti and Meatball ($24), a simple dish with one giant perfect meatball, the Prosciutto Tortelloni ($16), which is as delicious as you think it might be, thankfully the prosciutto shines and doesn't get overwhelmed by the rest of the dish, the Pappardelle Bolognese ($20), and the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio ($16) with its truffle aioli. We have also tried the signature dessert, the Torta Meringata ($23). It is listed as serving 2-4 -- it's a big stretch with 2. It is a salted caramel and vanilla gelato cake flambéed tableside and cut into four "slices." It is decadent and rich and amazing, especially if you're a salted caramel lover like me.

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I am not a big fan of the decor, the lounge is half sports bar, half cheezy club IMO, but the food was quite good last night.  Fritto Misto was a nice starter, and my daughter enjoyed her bucatini pomodoro.  The son inhaled the cheese pizza.  I had the eggplant parm, which was heavy on the cheese (mozz), so not much subtlety there.  Wifey had the shrimp in spaghettini, and enjoyed it.  A side of roasted mushroom.

Everything was seasoned aggressively, which we like, and the pastas were very good.  I will probably skip the eggplant next time since the other dishes were so good.  Our server said pastas were modestly sized and meant to be shared so we could entrees, but we our pastas were definitely enough for a meal for one person.  The pizza is very small, I could eat three of them.  We finished off with some ice cream, which was very nice as well, Trickling Springs dairy.  

I think the food is a step up from Alta Strada, still prefer Dino's, but the vibe is not my scene.  

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I'm being shuttled here for a dinner with a colleague next week (against my will), but the reviews above sound encouraging.  Is the corkage fee outrageous?

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agreed with the above that it is kind of "clubby"/"lounge-y" feeling. I get it, but do not love it. still my favorite Italian place in the District I've been to, so i'll keep returning.

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On 10/31/2016 at 4:20 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

You need to go to Bibiana, Masseria, Fiola/Mare. 

no doubt re: Masseria, Fiola/Mare (and I've heard good things about Centrolina in this category too), but IIRC, they are priced more at a "special occasion" level than RPM is.

i'll check out Bibiana - I hadn't heard of it. 

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Had dinner again at RPM only because it's close to the Game of Thrones bar and that's our ultimate destination.  The clientele is mixed.  We sat next to a lady in flip flops and there are many others in shorts and sneakers.  

As for the food, the pasta dishes are decent (spicy crab, special of clam and white wine), the giant prawns are still a bit overcooked, and the meatballs are loosely packed.

Service was a bit strange.  No one offered us bread until we ate the meatballs.  Then our waiter asked if we wanted bread to go with the sauce. 

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