RPM Italian. The Melman-backed venture is the personal project of E! news anchor Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill (the former Apprentice winner), but don't judge it for being a celebrity-owned restaurant - the food here is seriously legit. While chef Doug Psaltis is at the helm (formerly of NYC's Smith's, and Country) the menu also features recipes from Giuliana's Italian mama.
The restaurant is already booked a few months out at this point, and the vibe inside was fairly clubby, reminiscent a bit of NYC's Scarpetta, particularly food-wise. The big difference being that the restaurant's signature pasta pomodoro doesn't cost $25, but a mere $10. And in this case, Mama DiPandi's bucatini pomodoro - the one recipe that comes directly from Giuliana's Italian mother - happened to be our favorite dish of the night. The handmade bucatini was perfectly cooked and offset by a sweet and sharp pomodoro sauce, speckled with lots of Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil. While all the pastas we tried were excellent, this super-simple dish had the purest, most memorable flavors.