A Decade of RM, the Newest Shake Shack Maniac and Where to Feed the Beast

shake-shack_1 tray burgers_©william-brinson

It’s been 10 years since chef Rick Moonen planted his roots in Las Vegas with RM Seafood (in Mandalay Bay, 702-632-9300), bringing with him his dedication to sustainable seafood, even here in the desert. Moonen’s branched out since then, opening his steampunk-influenced Rx Boiler Room upstairs. But for this anniversary, he’s busting out the classics. To celebrate, Moonen has selected 10 dishes that represent his past decade, running the gamut from comfort food to pristine examples from fine dining, available through February as daily specials. The Oprah-approved Catfish Sloppy Joe has been on the menu since Day 1, while the black truffle vinaigrette-dressed brandade of scallops and shrimp is an elegant take on his commitment to sustainability. Moonen will also showcase dishes from his time competing on Top Chef Masters, so you’ll get all versions of the chef at his best.

Say what you will about Shake Shack (in New York-New York, 725-222-6730)—like their hipster burgers are cooler than you—but you definitely cannot say they’re not putting out excellent burgers and crinkle-cut fries (you need them with cheese, I assure you). My favorite just might be the most hipster-y sounding one of the bunch: the ShackMeister, a cheeseburger topped with super-secret Shack Sauce and ShackMeister-ale marinated shallots (crispy onions enhanced with the beer that’s made just for them by Brooklyn Brewery) on a soft, cozy bun with a hinge on the back. You know, so everything doesn’t fall out the bottom all over your vintage scarf or ironic T-shirt. Even the most disaffected of us can’t hate on a burger this good.

However, if you’re actually all burger’d out, there’s always brunch. Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar (in Red Rock Resort, 702-797-7344) just launched its midday weekend service that, of course, requires bottomless mimosas and micheladas. Not just for the hungover, the meal also reaches out to those who are serious about food, offering mason jars of house-cured bacon with black walnut bone-marrow jam with poached duck egg, and wild-mushroom Benedicts. The so-called Whole Beast Feast has piqued my interest, using all my favorite words, including “pig” and “cheesy eggs with chives and tortillas.”

Oh, and if you’re part of a couple that insists on going out on Valentine’s Day, here’s a tip: Make your reservation now.

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