In the midst of the desert, Chef Rick Moonen has built a paragon of dynamic dining from the finest treasures of the sea to comfort food redefined.
In February 2005, Chef Moonen opened Rick Moonen’s rm seafood at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas. The restaurant includes a 250-seat casual bistro and sushi bar, an 80-seat intimate dining room, a lounge and multiple private dining options. The seafood served downstairs at rm seafood reflects Moonen’s commitment to serving only the best seafood illustrates his ongoing advocacy for sustainable fishing practices and sound environmental stewardship. Upstairs, Rx Boiler Room, which opened in July 2013, combines the alchemy of food and drink as Moonen’s menu creates a spin on classic comfort food with a creative and cutting-edge experience.
“People are coming to Las Vegas for more than just gaming; they’re planning their evenings around dining now,” Moonen said. “I didn’t close my restaurant in New York to move to Las Vegas and open a good restaurant. I wanted to open a great restaurant.”
In fact, he opened two. Rick Moonen’s rm seafood offers casual dining on the lower level while Rx Boiler Room offers a playful shared dining experience on the upper level. Designed by San Francisco-based architect Cass Calder Smith, rm seafood’s interior features sleek lines and brushed metal warmed by burnished wood and cream-colored leather throughout the restaurant, with muted nautical elements balanced by high ceilings that lend the overall space an expansive, airy quality. On the other hand, Rx Boiler Room’s interior, designed by Cleo Design and Roni Fields, sets it apart from the conventional gastropub. Celebrating the sub-genre often associated with science-fiction and inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century affectionately known as steampunk, Rx Boiler Room’s dining rooms start with industrial hardware to swooping velveteen fabrics while the interactive bar exposes all of the alchemist tools unique to carefully concocting Rx Boiler Room libations. The steampunk inspired elements surrounding the dining experience evokes Moonen’s creative process of playful pairing, inventive illustration, and culinary mixing.
At rm seafood, where casual dining tastes remarkably elegant, the menu also includes an inventive sushi bar that features the Surf and Turf specialty with tempura filet mignon, cucumber, avocado, big eye tuna, peaches, tomatoes, cilantro and miso white truffle sauce. The raw bar offers varieties of oysters plucked from coastal waters, freshly shucked, or a combination of 6 oyster shooters accompanied by libations, as well as shellfish, and wild and farmed fish. Savory sandwiches, Moonen’s take on chowder, cast-iron mac and cheese, small and large plates and shellfish samplers like “The Kitchen Sink,” with lobsters, Dungeness crab, mussels, oysters, shrimp and clams round out the all-American menu. Moonen is a founding member of the Seafood Choices Alliance, a non-profit organization that encourages other chefs and the food industry to make thoughtful choices in the seafood marketplace and is a continued supporter of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program where only green and yellow listed items are featured on rm’s menus.
The thoughtfully crafted beverage program downstairs offers wines that span the globe with options from up-and-coming American Viognier, elegant Australian Shiraz, some of France’s finest Bordeaux, white Burgundies and the delightful option of a dessert Icewine. Hand-crafted cocktails are all the rage and make an appearance here as well, with seasonal signature drinks like the Gardner Martini – a combination of Hendrick’s Gin complimented with lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh basil that creates a refreshing and balanced twist on the classic.
At Rx Boiler Room, traditional comfort dishes are turned inside out to create a variety of signature dishes in small and large plate portions. Ideal for a shared dining experience, these creations include brioche toast with tomato jam with bacon wrapped around a sunny-side-up quail egg, braised oxtail croquettes with a lemon aioli, a Greek style lamb osso bucco, and a very playful calamari and meatballs in squid ink tomato sauce all served in both the playfully lush dining rooms and at the interactively intimate bar. Elevating and complementing the overall experience, the interactive drink menu features an emporium of the finest spirits and innovative libations that utilize cutting-edge culinary techniques. Highlights include Papa’s Got A Brand New Shaker which features a summery blend of 10 Cane Rum, housemade spiced grapefruit-lime cordial, anise liquer, Tiki Bitters with ginger-infused sugar-rolled grapefruit cube for garnish; and Campfire Peaches which features a smoky combination of Sombra Mezcal, Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, house made peach-mint shrub, Benedictine, The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters, topped with Magic Hat #9 Apricot Ale in a copper mug with dehydrated peach slices rolled in crushed pistachios with a mint sprig and dusted with powdered sugar, just to name a few.