Aside from one or two chefs, the practice of almost exclusively cooking seafood has so far been underrepresented on this list. Rick Moonen is here to change that. Rick has made the concept of sustainable seafood his life’s work, and he frequently speaks on ocean conservation and the dangers of overfishing. Don’t think he’s merely an activist, however; Rick is the winner of the 1993 Chefs in America “Chef of the Year: Northeast” award, a finalist in the second season of “Top Chef Masters”, and the 2006 Seafood Champion Award.
After graduating first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America, Rick worked at La Cote Basque, Le Cirque and The Water Club before becoming executive chef at Oceana, all in New York. His first solo restaurant, rm, received a three-star review from The New York Times; after closing rm in 2005, Rick opened rm Seafood in Las Vegas, rated one of the 10 Best restaurants in Las Vegas.
In addition to his success as a restaurateur, Rick is also a founding member of the Chef’s Coalition and the Seafood Choices Alliance, as well as a member of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Seaweb, Share our Strength, and a board member of Ecofish, proving that ethically-prepared food can still be wildly successful.
Specialties & Resources
Rick’s focus on sustainable seafood dishes shines through in all of his creations at rm Seafood. The menu offers interesting takes and new complementary flavors on traditional seafood dishes; offerings include Spanish octopus with castlevetrano olives, arugula, roasted almonds and lemon verbera oil; kona kampachi in dishi broth with white soy sauce, cilantro, lemon verbera and chilled shishito pepper; Spanish marinated anchovies with tomato relish, olive tapenade, baby spinach and hard egg; charred Spanish octopus with fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, natural jus and lemon aioli; and his “Surf and Surf,” a half lobster served with jumbo gulf shrimp over truffle mushroom risotto.
At Rx Boiler Room, Rick’s other establishment, the focus is less on seafood and more on inventive cocktails and traditional American comfort food. Menu items include chicken pot pie nuggets, buffalo fried oysters, braised Colorado lamb shank with toasted orzo, gremolata and ricotta, California dates with blue cheese, smoked bacon and a balsamic glaze, duck confit poutine, Peking duck lettuce wraps, and fish tacos served in taro root shells with grapefruit.