Photos by Elizabeth Daniels
One of the main attractions at the new Cafe Röckenwagner, which is now slated to open next week, is super talented pastry chef Cesar Bermudez, most recently of Flores and before that The Bazaar. In fact, José Andrés himself imported Bermudez from Spain, perhaps because of the seven months he trained with Ferran Adrià at elBulli. And while Bermudez does have experience with modernist cuisine, what he's doing at Cafe Röckenwagner is much more rooted in the classics, mainly French with California flavors.
Rockenwagner Bakery in Santa Monica and Mar Vista plus Three Square Bakery in Venice are most known for their pretzel bread. And while bread recipes will remain unchanged, proprietor Hans Röckenwagner has hired Bermudez to craft a mostly new pastry menu, which will debut at Cafe Röckenwagner and slowly roll out to all other Röckenwagner locations.
The Montalba Architects-designed eatery is a bright and welcoming place to enjoy a coffee and Kouign-amann in the morning, and more composed plates for lunch and dinner like a kale and Brussels sprouts salad; and pan roasted red snapper with pancetta, English peas, kohlrabi, baby carrots and nasturtium broth. The savory menu is still being tweaked, but Bermudez's desserts are set at 11 pastry case items, in addition to ice cream and three plated sweets. Expect rich fleur de sel chocolate sables, and a take on a salted caramel eclair wherein Bermudez adds a thin cookie dough to his pate de choux for a great extra crunch. But his favorite of the bunch is his Tropezienne, a dessert burger of sorts, made from a brioche dough topped with streusel and filled with a light vanilla cream. Opening date and hours of operation to come.
·All Cafe Rockenwagner Coverage [~ELA~]