The primatomma staff took to the streets of DC last night – Mt. Vernon neighborhood – to review a modern take on classic Italian dishes, RPM Italian. The off-shoot of Chicago’s versions by the same name (both “Steak” and “Italian” options there), we aimed to see if celebrity couple Bill & Giuliana Rancic and partners could replicate their successful Chicago concepts with the finicky DC crowd.
Located at 601 Massachusetts Ave, NW, near the Marriott Marquis and Convention Center, we knew parking would be an issue. No problem, valet parking available! Problem, $12 per car!!! Not off to the best start. You want me to pay for a top dollar dining experience AND milk me for parking? Non buono, RPM! I’d rather tip the valet workers that amount – they need it a hell of a lot more considering your charge of $25 per pour of Red Breast that sells for $65/bottle at the ABC Store.
Once inside, the beautiful people were only surpassed by the beautiful decor. (Disclaimer: It’s DC folks, so keep the “beautiful people” in perspective. “Beautiful for DC” is more apropos.) A packed bar with full tables made cocktails a bit of a challenge. The bar staff seemed less experienced than you would expect at such a hot spot. But primatomma always finds a way: Skip the 3 people deep front bar and make your way to the secluded bar toward the back of the restaurant. There you will find 6 empty seats with bartender Jessica who is equally adept at her craft as she is conversation. All while handling a dizzying array of drink orders from diners. Ahhh… to be 22 again. We look forward to seeing you again, Jessica!
Dinner seating was 30 minutes late but time passed quickly thanks to good company and a complimentary round of drinks (Bravo, RPM!). We sat in the VIP area (did someone tip off our identities???!!) which was perfect as we were ready to party. We sampled across the salad and apps options … the meatballs were unanimously voted the “must have” pre-entree selection.
Entrees were chosen from simple, traditional Italian to more daring dishes and all passed with flying colors. The presentation was spot-on and the portions ample but not obnoxious. Waitress Sue made sure we were well tended to and that our ample thirst was quenched.
The highlight of the night was dessert: Torta Meringata, a flaming masterpiece pictured to the left. Major shout out to Manager Josh Moore who demanded we experience this fine ass delicacy – a MUST HAVE when you visit RPM. And Josh is a must-meet as well. He goes very well with the third bottle of wine.
Overall, a rough start to our evening that was salvaged by a fun staff, good food, excellent drinks, and an outstanding dessert. But expect some of the growing pains that we experienced.
RPM Italian, primatomma awards you a coveted p rating. But we hold high expectations that within 6 months, a second p will be added. Getting rid of that valet parking fee and adding more experienced bartenders to the front bar should get you there!