Chef Rick Moonen is best known for being a sustainable seafood wizard, but with his next Las Vegas venture, to be called Rx Boiler Room (pronounced Rick’s Boiler Room), he’s taking a more whimsical approach, focusing on mixology, reinterpreted comfort food, and a heavy dose of showmanship.
"We’re going to be taking a nerdy, geeky, fun approach to cocktails and food," Moonen said in an interview with The Daily Meal. "It’ll be a Steampunk playground."
The 160-seat restaurant and lounge, which should be open by the end of June in the space that used to be occupied by his fine dining concept RM Upstairs, directly adjacent to his other restaurant, RM Seafood, inside Mandalay Bay. It’ll have a Steampunk vibe, drawing inspiration from the Victorian era, and will feature leather banquettes, mismatched and oversized chairs, communal tables, curtains that make the main bar look like a stage, and whimsical interpretations of classic cocktails and comfort food.
The menu will be focused on small plates that will sell for less than $10 each. It’ll feature fun, reimagined plays on comfort food: for example, "inside-out French onion soup," a melty Gruyère and onion grilled cheese with jus on the side, and Buffalo-style frog’s legs with different dips.
Cocktails will be developed in conjunction with the food menu, and will have an emphasis on alchemy and avant-garde mixology (don’t be surprised if liquid nitrogen, beakers, and flasks make an appearance). The cocktail and wine menu will be iPad-based. There will be a spacious lounge in the front, complete with plenty of couches and Steampunk touches, and a dining room in the back.
"It’s not a nightclub, but it’s very Vegas: go big or go home," Moonen added. "Expect the unexpected."