I’m all for the gastropub fad sweeping through the city, especially with the transformation of the upstairs of RM Seafood (which didn’t exactly strike my fancy) to Rx Boiler Room. Better to have more celebrity chef gastropubs than burger places, in my opinion.

The whole steampunk motif is cool although it looks like they spent more time updating the entry and lounge area than the main dining room. The theme could have been pushed more throughout the restaurant. It is Vegas, so taking it over the top would have been fitting. How about more exposed pipes? More sculptural art work throughout instead of just in front of the entry?

Anyway, it’s one of the better gastropubs in town and while there were some dishes that missed the mark, others were stellar. The best of the bunch was the bucket of crispy game hen ($16). Its large portion size makes it one of the better deals in the restaurant and the well seasoned, light, crispy, peppery exterior and tender, fall-off-the-bone meat could challenge for the best fried chicken in town.

Another excellent dish was the Maine lobster roll ($24). Not much was changed from a traditional version and maybe that’s what makes it so good. It’s simple and delicious. The only drawbacks are that there wasn’t enough lobster meat and it was slightly overdressed.

I’m a fan of their braised oxtail croquettes ($9). The savory and rich beef had a texture similar to a brisket and the sauce added just the right amount of acidity. Another beef dish — the grilled Niman Ranch skirt steak ($24) — was small, but perfectly seasoned. Accompanying the steak were house-made tater tots with a light and airy interior that made them one of the highlights of the night. The mac and cheese ($14) was pretty awesome too. The pinwheel pasta was fitting with the gear and steampunk motif of the restaurant and the use of five different cheeses will have your tastebuds doing cartwheels.

Other dishes we tried included the fairly standard Rx guacamole ($8) that wasn’t nearly as delicious as the duck fat chips it came with. The chicken pot pie nuggets ($8) were just… meh… The heavy and thick exterior didn’t help at all. Rx steak-n-eggs ($24) will probably disappoint most because the cost-to-size ratio is hard to ignore. It’s a small portion for the price that had a lot going on — too many flavors and textures that muted what was probably quality beef.

Also known for their beverage program, I had to try their cocktails. “Mario Took the Wrong Warp Pipe” ($14 – Novo Fogo Silver cachaca, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao, fresh lemon, house made thyme syrup, extra virgin olive oil) was well balanced and earthy with some fruity notes. I couldn’t detect any of the EVOO, which was probably a good thing. The second drink, “How Many Licks” ($15 – Raisin-infused Hennessy Black Cognac, House made plum vanilla bean shrub, Disaronno Amaretto, fresh lemon), was ordered on the recommendation of our server. It was too sweet for my tastes, but still a well crafted beverage.

Let’s hope they get enough business to keep the place open. When we were there on a Friday night it was dead. The location isn’t ideal for attracting diners and if you park in the Mandalay Bay garage it’s a long haul. The best way to get here is to valet at Mandalay Place (between Mandalay Bay and Luxor) and take the escalator up to the shops and dining area.

4 Stars

Mandalay Bay
3930 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 632-9900

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