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November 23, 2014

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Counter Intelligence: Rick Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room, Twist at Mandarin Oriental and Press at Four Seasons

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Steve Marcus

Rick Moonen of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, and a Season 2 cheftestant, arrives for the “Top Chef Masters” Season 4 premiere party at Boulevard Pool in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Bay

The mood board for chef Rick Moonen's Rx Boiler Room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Pierre Gagnaire at Twist

Chef Pierre Gagnaire at his restaurant Twist at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Hot off the grill! In a sense, it was a bittersweet party. Celebrated “Top Chef Masters” cheftestant and judge Rick Moonen ended a multiyear-run in the upstairs, high-concept-cuisine dining area of his much-admired RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay.

“Las Vegas diners want comfort food at lower prices,” he said, “and we have to give them what they want.” So he announced plans for his new venture in the redesigned space, and it has foodies agog with what will be in about 60 days.

Say hello to Rx Boiler Room (Rx is pronounced Rick’s) inspired by his love of Jules Verne, science fiction and the Steam Punk decor from the 19th century industrialized Victorian era.

Rick told me: “It’s going to be a laboratory in a sense where we experiment with food. Turn some favorites inside out and upside down. It will be a mix of old and new, but entirely unique and exciting.” His downstairs RM Seafood will remain open during the upstairs transformation.

PROMOTION: Congratulations to Ryuki Kawasaki, who has been promoted to chef de cuisine at Twist by chef Pierre Gagnaire at Mandarin Oriental. He was previously senior sous chef under the direction of chef de cuisine Pascal Sanchez, who returns to his French homeland.

Ryuki opened Pierre’s one-star Michelin restaurant Sketch Lecture Room in London in 2005 and returned here to help open Twist. During his tenure, the restaurant has received high praise, including the coveted Five Star rating by Forbes Travel Guide for two consecutive years.

World-renowned Pierre returned here a week ago to his 23rd floor restaurant overlooking the Strip to launch his Spring 2013 menu. Twist is the only restaurant in the U.S. where guests can experience the cuisine of the three-star Michelin chef. The menu features langoustine, a foie gras tasting, loup de mer, lapin and more that infuse classic French cuisine with a modern twist.

At dinner, he told me: “The dishes have to be well assembled, easy to understand and possess eccentricity. And, of course, they have to be delicious.” They certainly were! Pierre also traveled to the 6th annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival grand finale dinner. Three chefs joined him to serve the $1,250 per person meal. High priced, but high honors.

PRESS ON! The Strip’s newest indoor-and-outdoor social hub, Press at The Four Seasons, has just opened and hosts its kickoff party Thursday. From early morning to late night, it’s fun, food and drinks. There are even 20 Plates and 20 Wines offerings.

Sanjiv Gupta leads a team of mixologists, and pastry chef Jean-Luc Daul masterminds the whimsical desserts. Although there are wi-fi and charging outlets, Press is named for the process that makes the perfect coffee, the production of wine and the panini sandwiches.

It starts at the hotel lobby on the inside and sprawls out to its own patio outdoors with comfortable sofas set by two gas fire pits.

DINING IN THE DARK: I’m reliably told that Las Vegas investors are being wooed to open a “dining in the dark’ restaurant where there would be no lights to permit a look at what you’re eating and how it would be served.

“It’s all about the taste, and only the taste,” a good friend who went to a similar restaurant in Los Angeles told me of her 2-hour dark experience. Check out Mobile.DarkDining.com to get an idea of what might be coming to the Strip.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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