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Like the union between the Chicago Apprentice winner and the glam E! network star, Bill and Giuliana Rancic's new River North restaurant RPM Italian--a partnership with the Melmans Jr. (RJ, Jerrod and Molly) of Lettuce Entertain You--is a winning combo of professionalism and West Coast sparkle.
The fifth season of the Rancics' Style Network reality show, Giuliana & Bill, starts tonight, with major screen time devoted to RPM (and to Giuliana's recent breast cancer diagnosis). To mark the occasion, we stopped in to see how the restaurant has fared in its first month: Had the hype fizzled, or was there more than star power at work?
The RPM crowd was dressed to be seen, including servers in chic white jackets chosen by Giuliana. We tried well-seasoned fried zucchini with herb dip ($8) and two perfectly al dente, lightly sauced pastas: Mama DePandi's bucatini pomodoro with basil ($10; named for Giuliana's mother) and the oozy, peppery spaghetti with caciocavallo ($10). The portions are small by design: Chef Doug Psaltis hails from a fine-dining background (several Alain Ducasse kitchens; L2O), and our server said the svelte Giuliana didn't want people leaving overstuffed.
It worked. We were just full enough--but still wanted more.
RPM Italian, 52 W. Illinois St.; 312-222-1888 or rpmitalian.com
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