Yup! They’re every bit as good as they look. And everything is priced between $8-$17.

Rick Moonen told us we were getting the last of the Jamon Iberico de bellota de pata negra for a while, — an embargo having been placed on them due to a recent pork scare — so we were happy indeed to savor its meltingly tender, creamy, nutty, ham-butter-ness. The stuff damn near melts on your tongue, and a richer, deeper, more haunting ham flavor you will never find.

And the damn thing costs over a thousand dollars for a thirteen pound bone-in beauty (yikes!), and may or may not be worth it, but you’ll be recalling the taste and texture hours after your meal.

You’ll also be remembering how pitch-perfect Adam Sobel’s flavors and combinations are, and how much umami punch he and Moonen deliver for the buck.

Concentrate on the baked clams, for instance. A raw baby clam is skewered atop a baked clam fritter — each accenting the other for a perfect one bite snack.

Or think about what they do with a simple empanada — making it feather light yet strong enough to hold a savoy, slightly spicy blend of chorizo and shrimp. It may have been their most traditional dish, but it hit all the right notes — demonstrating how the simple can become so sophisticated.

Moonen and Sobel might be over-thinking things with their Arctic char toro wedged between two crisps of pumpernickel, but the deconstructed little sandwiches (an homage to a deli breakfast) are fun in the way small plates are supposed to be.

Desserts are equally compelling — with intense gems like a chocolate pots-de-creme pudding resting underneath rich, dark chocolate gelatin cubes, interspersed with feather-light marshmallow puffs and milk foam, along with a petit four plate of playful cubes of deliquescent fruit — providing eye-popping endings to your minimalist meal.


In the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino

3930 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89119



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