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Brand new restaurant of Hans Rockenwager: Cafe Rockenwagner in West LA

parantoux Jan 30, 2014 12:24 PM

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.

  1. o
    OscarFox Jan 30, 2014 12:31 PM

    I assume you are referring to the "3 Square Café" location on Abbot Kinney?

    http://www.rockenwagner.com/cafe.html

    3 Replies
    1. re: OscarFox
      k
      kevin Jan 30, 2014 01:10 PM

      Oscar, if it's brain new he can't be referring to the one on Abbot Kinney because that's been open for over half a decade now. Unless 3 Square had undergone a name change thus technically a novel, new restaurant.

      1. re: OscarFox
        Mattapoisett in LA Jan 30, 2014 01:12 PM

        No it is a new Place

        Cafe Rockenwagner
        1168 S. Barrington Ave., Los Angeles, CA

        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
          SilverlakeGirl Jan 30, 2014 02:53 PM

          Edit

      2. k
        kevin Jan 30, 2014 01:08 PM

        Yes. Please give us the location.

        16 Replies
        1. re: kevin
          parantoux Jan 30, 2014 03:13 PM

          1168 S. Barrington Ave. (310) 478-6313

          1. re: parantoux
            k
            kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:14 PM

            Do you happen to have a link to an online menu ?

            Thanks Parthoux.

            1. re: kevin
              wienermobile Jan 30, 2014 03:46 PM

              Could not find menu but here are photos and a article on all their desserts
              http://www.lamag.com/lafood/digestblo...

               
               
              1. re: wienermobile
                k
                kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:47 PM

                Wiener, what's the cream puff looking thing on the right ?

                it looks beyond fuckin' scrumptious.

                1. re: kevin
                  wienermobile Jan 30, 2014 03:53 PM

                  That is their Tarte Tropézienne and this is their chocolate peanut butter bomb...

                   
                  1. re: wienermobile
                    k
                    kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:56 PM

                    Ok, Wiener. Will you stop it already ???? :)

                    This is really not beneficial to my diet.

                    But then again if I look at these desserts it can't hurt, right ?

                    1. re: kevin
                      wienermobile Jan 30, 2014 04:10 PM

                      More to destroy any diet...

                       
                       
                       
                      1. re: wienermobile
                        k
                        kevin Jan 30, 2014 04:15 PM

                        What's that long, slender chocolate one that almost looks like a refined "devil dog" that has gone to graduate school ?

                        Also, the financier tart has a stick of butter on top of it ? What the fuck is that cube ????
                        the cube seems to be a strange unappetizing touch or is it just me ???????

                        Thanks for ruining the old diet once again.

                      2. re: kevin
                        westsidegal Jan 31, 2014 08:56 AM

                        diet???!!?
                        i should have skipped 80% of the DineLA meals i've had this week (really, based on this round, i'm thinking of skipping DineLA entirely from now on) and just gone and gotten the desserts that wienermobile just showed.

                        hell, it would have been better, lower calorie, and cheaper if instead of going to DineLA spots, i had just camped out at Gelato Lounge for the week. . . . .

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          i
                          ilysla Jan 31, 2014 09:53 AM

                          I tried DineLA a few times. After having a vast majority of the meals be very unsatisfying, I've decided to never do it again (unless it's Fogo de Chao).

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            b
                            bulavinaka Jan 31, 2014 12:18 PM

                            3Square on Abbot Kinney has most if not all of those desserts - closer to PdR.

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              westsidegal Jan 31, 2014 01:07 PM

                              thank you.
                              as soon as i completely lose the weight that i gained from the lousy DineLA meals, i'll be going there.

                              1. re: westsidegal
                                b
                                bulavinaka Jan 31, 2014 04:03 PM

                                We love you just the way you are... :-)

                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                  k
                                  kevin Jan 31, 2014 04:09 PM

                                  I gotta lose some serious weight too.

                            2. re: westsidegal
                              k
                              kevin Jan 31, 2014 02:14 PM

                              Yes, Gelato Lounge is quite good.

                              My friends always get into a tizzy about DineLA that they should go.

                              why not just go during the usual season when the food is nine times out of ten much better ?????? a novel idea if you ask me.

                      3. re: wienermobile
                        parantoux Jan 30, 2014 04:22 PM

                        I asked them. That will come. Only the third night of operation tonight.

                2. c
                  chrishei Jan 30, 2014 01:09 PM

                  I believe it's the new cafe on the NE corner of Wilshire/Barrington.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: chrishei
                    k
                    kevin Jan 30, 2014 01:11 PM

                    Chris dd you hit it up yet ??????

                    1. re: kevin
                      c
                      chrishei Jan 30, 2014 01:12 PM

                      No, but most likely going very soon - I live ONE block away.

                      1. re: chrishei
                        k
                        kevin Jan 30, 2014 01:15 PM

                        Ok. Check to see if they have the crab souffle on the menu or quenelles of pike with a saffron thyme sauce tooo.

                    2. re: chrishei
                      parantoux Jan 30, 2014 03:13 PM

                      Correct: 1168 S. Barrington Ave. (310) 478-6313

                      1. re: parantoux
                        t
                        Thor123 Jan 30, 2014 03:27 PM

                        Are they open for lunch. I am around there all the time.

                        1. re: Thor123
                          k
                          kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:30 PM

                          If they are not, I'm sure once they get their sea legs going, they will open for lunch.

                          Hence, stay tuned.

                          In the meantime, you are overdue on a visit to tana's.

                          1. re: kevin
                            t
                            Thor123 Jan 30, 2014 03:38 PM

                            I will stop by at lunch and see tomorrow. If so, I will report back. Was at Tana's a couple weeks back. Will return soon. Had my first disappointing meal at Sotto. Hopefully, an aberration.

                            1. re: Thor123
                              k
                              kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:41 PM

                              Luckily, I haven't visit Sotto just yet.

                              1. re: kevin
                                parantoux Jan 30, 2014 03:43 PM

                                I actually walked out. The food was virtually inedible and the staff "didn't get it".

                                1. re: parantoux
                                  k
                                  kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:48 PM

                                  Which place did you walk out of ?????

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    parantoux Jan 30, 2014 04:22 PM

                                    Sotto.

                                    1. re: parantoux
                                      i
                                      ilysla Jan 30, 2014 09:59 PM

                                      That's too bad. Perhaps I won't like Rockenwagner, then, b/c I felt that my one and only visit to Sotto was fantastic....

                                      1. re: ilysla
                                        t
                                        Thor123 Jan 31, 2014 09:40 AM

                                        I really like Sotto. I am writing it off to an off night. Really, it wasnt that bad either. They did not have the pork chop (although they called to let me know that in advance). They brought the wrong pasta dish. However, they comped it and sent me home with the one I had ordered. So all in all I should not complain.

                                        1. re: Thor123
                                          i
                                          ilysla Jan 31, 2014 09:56 AM

                                          And did the food (even if it was wrong dish) still taste good? I'm more likely to forgive a place for mistakes if the food still tastes good and management is willing to make some... uh, adjustments. =)

                                          I'll probably still stop by Rockenwagner since it's kind of w/i walking distance.... Doubt I'll go often, though, since the prices seem a little dear....

                                          1. re: ilysla
                                            t
                                            Thor123 Jan 31, 2014 10:09 AM

                                            It was good. I was just disappointed. I over reacted by even mentioning it.

                      2. re: chrishei
                        b
                        BacoMan Jan 30, 2014 10:10 PM

                        This place has no website =/

                      3. k
                        kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:48 PM

                        Wait a second….

                        Is Cafe Rockenwagner on the second floor of a mini-mall in the old Enzo & Angelo's space ????

                        Thanks.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: kevin
                          c
                          chrishei Jan 30, 2014 03:53 PM

                          First floor of the new apartment complex on that corner.

                          1. re: chrishei
                            k
                            kevin Jan 30, 2014 03:57 PM

                            Oh, I know where it's at now.

                            The new mixed used apartment complex across from where the Baskin Robbin's/7'11 still is or used to be.

                            1. re: kevin
                              c
                              chrishei Jan 30, 2014 04:12 PM

                              That's an affirmative.

                              1. re: chrishei
                                k
                                kevin Jan 30, 2014 04:16 PM

                                Report back on the double, please.

                        2. n
                          nosh Jan 30, 2014 09:03 PM

                          Do they offer parking in the building? How much?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: nosh
                            parantoux Jan 30, 2014 09:38 PM

                            Yes. $6.00

                            1. re: parantoux
                              n
                              nosh Jan 30, 2014 10:06 PM

                              Well, that certainly makes it more difficult to run in to try a couple of pastries...

                              1. re: nosh
                                i
                                ilysla Jan 30, 2014 10:19 PM

                                Would you expect anything else from a place that charges $3000/mo for a one-bedroom apt?

                          2. westsidegal Jan 30, 2014 10:48 PM

                            anyone who thinks that radishes combine well with avocado will not be seeing me in his restaurant.

                            1. f
                              foodiemahoodie Jan 30, 2014 11:24 PM

                              Tried the flattened chicken - very good. Has a kind of bright, citrus-y flavor (from a brine). Moist, flavorful and satisfying. (as parantou said).

                              The grilled octopus on cabbage was amazingly tender. Loved this dish. Nice mix of lush, rich and tart.

                              Pain perdue - will probably be a big hit. It's a appetizer but could easily be breakfast. Or a dessert. Or a late night munchie quasher (don't know how late they'll be open, but I can see this becoming the course of choice for potheads with culinary leanings).

                              Also, the short ribs were excellent. I pride myself on shortribs - and these had than unctuous creamy and meaty texture when they're done right (low and slow). Nailed it.

                              Not open for lunch yet (and for some mysterious reason, they weren't answering the phone tonight). This is a soft opening.

                              Lunch will star on February 11th.

                              1. t
                                Thor123 Jan 31, 2014 01:30 PM

                                Not yet opened for breakfast or lunch but sign says soon.

                                1. Servorg Feb 1, 2014 08:22 AM

                                  Dinner cooked at home by Chef Rockenwagner sounds like a memorable treat. Does he still offer this as a service if you know, and ballpark, what was the cost of his chef's services for your birthday event at that time?

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