Chef Rick Moonen Scores a Culinary Trifecta

Chef Rick Moonen isn’t quite like all the other culinary gurus in Las Vegas. He had restaurants in New York City before he moved to Sin City full time in 2005, and in the past week, his RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay has become the talk of the town.

The two-level restaurant just revealed RM Seafood Upstairs, a new fine dining element that explores playful and interactive dishes and supports Moonen’s commitment to sustainable foods. Then came his announcement to return to Bravo’s Top Chef Masters to attempt a run to the end. His week got even better when the James Beard Foundation announced that Moonen garnered a semi-finalist nomination for “Best Chef Southwest.”

At his new RM Seafood Upstairs, Moonen brought executive chef Adam Sobel—who worked at Guy Savoy and Bradley Ogden—on board to work with chef de cuisine Gerald Chine—whose experience includes stints at Bradley Ogden’s and Joël Robuchon—to build the menu.

“When I was creating the menu, I wanted to push the boundaries of fine dining and bring it to an entirely new level,” Moonen said. “The dishes we’ve produced are innovative, playful, and even interactive—part of the Vegas dining experience that I felt was missing.”

His new menu includes Spider Crab, a dish made with artichokes, sunchokes, and ruby red grapefruit surrounded by Dungeness crab that clings to the rim of the bowl like a spider; Onion Soup 3000, a deconstructed version of the French classic comprised of Gruyère custard and onion velouté served atop a caramelized onion chip; and the Chocolate Car Bomb, a combination of Guinness Beer ice cream topped with Baileys Irish Cream and beer suds.

He also included sustainable seafood flown in fresh daily, such as Walu in Cherry Leaf topped with white soy emulsion, Shitake mushroom and Yuzu powder; Baked Tasmanian Ocean Trout with king crab, yellow endive and orange carpaccio; and Roasted Turbot with saffron chorizo congee, mussels and rice cracker.

The menu features a 630-wine list with sustainable selections, all sourced for their environmental practices.

On Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Moonen failed to complete his Moon Doggies in the “Quick Fire Challenge” and while he received top marks in the final challenge, this mistake cost him the competition during the first season. The show starts April 7, and Moonen returns on April 21 at 10 p.m. For a sneak peek, visit this Bravo link.

For more info: Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood Upstairs is open Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 702-632-9300. For more information on RM Seafood, visit