Sitting in the two levels above Pizzeria Portofino and RPM Events, RPM Seafood is the final phase in Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises ambitious riverfront project north of the Chicago River and east of Clark Street. The city of Chicago, developers, and the Melmans have worked together on this project which could further transform the riverwalk into a destination for food and drink.
Walking in, the bright first-floor dining room greets customers while exuding a casual luxury. The elegant spaces are deceptively simple featuring offsetting white walls, filmy drapes, and cream-colored upholstery with leafy green plants and geometric bars on each floor that bear a slightly industrial feel. Wall-sized windows counter the cramped effect that can come from low ceilings, creating a sensation of spaciousness and a fantastic view. A chevron-patterned wood floor also adds a welcome touch of fun.
The dining room is packed with low (in the front) and high-top (in the back) tables, as well as large, cushy half-circle booths. If it draws the boisterous crowds that frequent RPM’s other restaurants to see and be seen, a shortage of soft surfaces may lead to a loud dining room that’s better for gatherings than an intimate date night.
Executive chef Bob Broskey (Beacon Tavern and LEYE’s Intro Chicago and L20) is in charge of the menu with an assist from chef Eddie Ishaq (RPM Steak, Wildfire). It’s versatile for after-work snacking, a night out, or a celebratory dinner. Lettuce knows River North with several restaurants, including RPM Steak and RPM Italian. That means the group will capitalize on bar business. Happy hour cocktailers should enjoy the space, which offers three signature cocktails and three signature spirit-free drinks. There’s also a featured drink called “Weston.” It’s made with Dark Matter Coffee espresso, Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon, and pipe tobacco.
Celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic attended the restaurant’s opening party last weekend. Bill Rancic made a toast, and LEYE president R.J. Melman thanked guests for attending. A suburban native, Bill Rancic is used to making deals along the river. After winning the Apprentice in 2004, the Trump Organization hired him to be in charge of construction of the Trump Tower Chicago. The Rancics have rabid social media followings. That’s helped make RPM’s two Chicago restaurants (there’s also one in Washington, D.C.) popular with celebrities.
The river has casual options to the south with restaurants like Chiya Chai, Tiny Tapp, and the Northman located on the riverwalk. RPM Seafood, part of a four-floor building, is for a different demographic. Take a look at some food photos and the menus below.
RPM Seafood, 317 N. Clark Street, (312) 900-9035, open 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Monday through Sunday, reservations via OpenTable.