Dining: New Hot Spots
Los Angeles has long been missing a casual, restaurant-slashoutdoor bar on the Eastside. But with Rockwell, VT, the thirst for upscale dining and nightlife is satiated. Just a block away from the iconic Dresden Restaurant sits Rockwell, VT, a handsome urban space defi ned by a coral tree sprouting from its center. An inviting juxtaposition of nature and modern architecture, Rockwell, VT boasts more than 6,000 square feet and offers mostly alfresco dining options along with a smaller covered space next to an impressive bar. “We wanted to give the neighborhood a unique outdoor venue for hanging out with friends and family—whatever the occasion,” says Wayne Elias, who coowns the restaurant with Chris Diamond.
Chef Stephanie Beaucamp—who splits her time between Rockwell, VT and Los Feliz’s Vermont Restaurant & Bar—has done a remarkable job of turning typical bar eats into thoughtful, unique dishes. Highlights from the menu include a frisée-greens salad topped with applewood-smoked bacon, a poached egg, blue cheese and mustard vinaigrette; flatbread covered in pan cetta, crème fraîche, caramelized onion, fig jam and Gorgonzola; and spicy ahi-taro shell tacos stuffed with avocado purée and jicama slaw. But there is little denying that cocktails are the focal point of Rockwell, VT, and the menu serves up plenty of creative options. There’s the Rockwell Rosita, complete with Roseangel tequila, Aperol, agave nectar and lemon, and the Kir Vermont, made with Champagne, St-Germain and mint.
Rockwell, VT is the perfect place to start an evening, but don’t be surprised if you fi nd yourself lounging in one of the cushioned booths late into the night. You may fi nd it hard to leave. Located behind 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, 323-669-1550; rockwellvt.com
Situated on the corner of Olympic and Canon, the ’50s-style Avalon Beverly Hills hotel is a bastion of cool amidst the neighborhood’s usual flashiness and grandeur. To commemorate its 10th anniversary, the hotel renovated its main areas as well as its restaurant, formerly known as Blue on Blue. Not only does the restaurant boast a new moniker, Oliverio, it also has a revamped menu; new executive chef, Mirko Paderno; and—thanks to world-famous interior designer Kelly Wearstler—a fresh look, too.
While there are a few tables indoors, the main dining area is centered around an hourglass-shaped pool (swimming hours end at 6 PM) and Paderno—who previously worked in the kitchens of Celestino Drago and Cecconi’s—draws upon his native background to present a predominantly Italian menu. Don’t miss his specialty, mouthwatering pizzettes—dough is fried and then baked before toppings are added (go for the goat cheese and black summer truffl es). Appetizers such as burrata with beets and balsamic dressing prep the palate for hearty main courses, including potato gnochetti with fresh tomatoes and smoked mozzarella and lamb chops with sautéed potatoes and porcini mushrooms. And who can say no to panna cotta with raspberry-beet sauce for dessert?
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX VASILESCU (SCALLOPS)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.