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Jan 30, 2014 12:24 PM

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

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.


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

    3 Replies
    1. re: OscarFox

      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

        No it is a new Place

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

      2. Yes. Please give us the location.

        16 Replies
        1. re: kevin

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

          1. re: parantoux

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

            Thanks Parthoux.

            1. re: kevin

              Could not find menu but here are photos and a article on all their desserts

              1. re: wienermobile

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

                it looks beyond fuckin' scrumptious.

                1. re: kevin

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

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    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

                      More to destroy any diet...

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        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

                        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 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

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

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              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

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

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  I gotta lose some serious weight too.

                            2. re: westsidegal

                              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

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

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

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: chrishei

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

                    1. re: kevin

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

                      1. re: chrishei

                        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

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

                      1. re: parantoux

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

                        1. re: Thor123

                          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

                            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

                              Luckily, I haven't visit Sotto just yet.

                              1. re: kevin

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

                                1. re: parantoux

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

                                    1. re: parantoux

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

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

                      2. Wait a second….

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


                        4 Replies
                        1. re: kevin

                          First floor of the new apartment complex on that corner.

                          1. re: chrishei

                            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: chrishei

                                Report back on the double, please.

                        2. Do they offer parking in the building? How much?

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: parantoux

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

                              1. re: nosh

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