With the celebrity fanfare combined with bad experiences at recent LEYE openings, when RPM Italian initially opened I didn't take it seriously. Then some relatively positive reviews seemed to indicate that there might be real cooking going on, and I became intrigued enough to take the short walk from work for an early dinner. I should have trusted my initial thoughts.
On what RPM calls a Bolognese sauce, I am calling boloney. It's just an overly sweet tomato sauce with some shreds of slow cooked meat in it. I'd wager that the meat and the sauce met shortly before service, having spent little or no time together on the stove. And there's way too much of it, overwhelming what were actually pretty good house made parpardelle. A loveless dish.
I had to send back my squid ink pasta with crab after awkwardly spitting out two 3-inch pieces of cartilage which came from the first two bites. Crab isn't easy to clean, but this was a ridiculous level of carelessness or incompetence. I didn't get far enough into this dish to determine whether it had any potential.
Stuffed, fried olives were a tasty snack, but paled in comparison to other versions I've had. If you're ever lucky enough to be at Spacca Napoli when Jonathan Goldsmith is handing out his version for free to waiting patrons, you'll know how wonderful stuffed, fried olives can be. By comparison, RPM's were an amateurish rendition with olives that were too small to stuff with any meaningful flavor.
Gelato which a manager brought me for free to make up for the crab debacle was icy but tasty.
There may be reasons to go to RPM Italian, but food isn't one of them.