Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RPM Steak

As with the last restaurant that I went to, I was a little skeptical before going to RPM Steak, and for very similar reasons.  There are a number of restaurants in Chicago where you can get a really good steak.  Going into any of these restaurants, you should know that you will be paying a significant amount more than any number of other good restaurants that do not feature steak.  A good steak that is well prepared is not going to be cheap.  Having said that, RPM Steak is one of the more expensive steakhouses in town and the question is whether it is worth the premium.  RPM is part of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and stands for partners, Bill Rancic, Doug Psaltis, and RJ, Molly, and Jerrod Melman, the children of Rich Melman, Founding Partner of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.  Lettuce Entertain You's restaurants, for the most part, while not outstanding are pretty good in all categories.  They have many restaurants that simplify ethnic styles for Western palates.  The restaurants that the younger Melmans have opened up, however, seem to be focused at least as much on the scene as the food.  While the food that is serves at their restaurants is also pretty good, they seem to aim for an atmosphere of exclusivity which kind of turns me off.  The aim for exclusivity means that they will aim for a higher price point than other restaurants serving similar food.  I was a little turned off before I walked in because I had to park my bike a block away because there was nowhere close to park it.  From the outside, the restaurant looked like a nightclub.  The building is black and the windows had blackout curtains on them.  Walking in continued with the black theme, adding accents of white, glass, and chrome.  The bar is elevated from the "dance floor" dining room and is where I sat.  It was large, and black, with a white marble top and wrapped around in a square shape, so patrons sat on the outside and the bartenders floated around on the inside.  While I was trying to decide on my food, I ordered a cocktail called the Tuxedo.  It's a spin on a Martini with both Belvedere Vodka and Bombay Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, and an Absinthe rinse.  It was served in a martini glass with a bow tie lemon peel garnish.  It tasted very smooth though the fact that it was all booze did give it a slight burn going down.  The crystal clear drink with the clear glass on the white bar and chrome background made for a great picture.
The appetizers included the usual suspects with bacon, foie gras, crab, caviar, and a nice selection of seafood, both raw and cooked.  I went with some of the cooked variety with the Mediterranean Octopus with Potatoes and Jalapeño Crema with sliced jalapeños.  The octopus was well grilled and had a little char.  It was very tender and meaty-flavored and went well with both the potatoes and the jalapeño which added some depth of flavor and some heat to the dish.

For my steak (there were other things that I could have ordered instead of steak, but come on, I was at a steak house).  I ordered a Medium Rare 14 oz Strip Steak from Slagel Farms.  In my opinion, you should order a vegetable and a side with your steak, so I ordered the Curried Brussels Sprouts for my vegetable and Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms for my side.  The brussels sprouts were crispy and had a nice spicy flavor to them.  While they tasted good, they were served as peeled leaves instead of the heads which I actually prefer.  The heads could have been cut, but I would have prefetred to have something to bite into instead of whole leaves.  The steak itself was fantastic.  It was well seasoned, very juicy, and a perfect medium rare.  The mushrooms were buttery and very flavorful and went very well with the steak.

While I was enjoying my steak, I was also talking to the bartender about their top shelf liquors, specifically their scotches.  While they did have a pretty good selection, I was a little disappointed that they had no Auchentoshan.  She told me that they had run out and if people asked for it, they had them try Oban, which she gave me a sample of and it was very good (though not exactly what iwas looking for).  I decided to hold off on the Scotch for the evening and decided to finish things with a Coffee Custard with Salted Caramel Pearls and Dark Chocolate which I paired with a Sambuca Lucano with Espresso Beans.  Coffee is a common after dinner drink, so I decided to do it a littel different with both the dessert and the drink.  They were both good and sweet with a little bitter and paired marvelously well together.

My dinner was very good and I was treated very well.  I enjoyed talking to the bartender and watching her work, but the meal was the most expensive non-tasting menu dinner that I have ever had.  I have actually had a few tasting menu meals that were cheaper than this.  While it was nice and very good, I am not sure that it was worth the premium over other very good steakhouses.    

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