As you have heard on many occasions, I love LA—but I find the LA restaurant scene lacking, with no disrespect to the few interesting restaurants that serve as oases in the Land of In-N-Out.
I’ve been privileged to have known Hans Rockenwagner for many years. He even personally came to my home and cooked a great dinner for my 40th birthday, three or four years ago. LOL
Café Rockenwagner has been open for only two nights. I dined there with a friend Wednesday evening. The ship was sailing smoothly. And I’ll probably be back this weekend.
Think bright, contemporary, minimalist cool design—with the one downside of all hard surfaces. Bring Bose headphones for when the restaurant fills up very shortly. Possibly Hans would consider industrial carpeting on the ceiling to dampen the noise, since I was told he doesn’t want any on the floors. Please see photos at the end.
Now to the food—and what great refreshing food! Start with “breads and spreads”: a small basket of various breads for which Rockenwagner is known (and has built a very significant wholesale business on) and an oval side plate of six small portions of exotic great spreads. But even better, tonight had toasted bread topped with an avocado spread with thin radishes. Terrific. Possibly addictive.
Our server told us that the vegetable soup was a meal in itself—and he was right. Not at all heavy—but you’re sated when you finish. The light vegetable broth is stunning, which then bathes plenty of great Farmer’ Market vegetables—perfectly done. Hooray!
Who would think to serve perfectly grilled octopus—no chewiness at all—with Austrian red cabbage and a great sauce—but for Hans. Terrific appetizer.
Brick Chicken is a “boring” main—NOT. The chicken is as moist as it can be, very flavorful—and with citrus flavor mashed potatoes. This defines comfort food.
Discussing the pastry effort is superfluous, since that is a hallmark of Rockenwagner eateries. And you can buy some to take home, if you don’t have any room left. The molasses cookies should be a controlled substance.
It’s been some that since I’ve been as excited about a limited menu casual restaurant. The bill for two with breads and spreads, two soups, grilled octopus (Hans gifted us with the avocado crisped bread), the Brick Chicken and tea was about $75 before tip. Corkage is $25.
It’s pretty simple: GET YOUR BUTT OVER THERE FOR A GREAT TIME.