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Dear Jane’s New Los Angeles Seafood Restaurant Is Filled With Old School Glamour – Rob Reports

When LA cooking powerhouses Patti and Hans Rockenwagner and two-Michelin-star chef Josiah Citrine debut Dear Jane’s in Marina del Rey tonight, the seafood-focused restaurant will celebrate the glorious days of old-school gastronomy—and make you believe them. . Re here again. Rockefeller oysters, oyster towers, carts that slide across the dining room to distribute shrimp on Louie’s table side, and fish sticks boldly dipped in caviar will all add to the oomph. But it’s more than just food. Waterfront views, a beautiful mid-century building, a dimly lit fireplace bar, and a glamorous Hollywood clientele will give this new restaurant an instant, undeniable appeal.

However, all that glamor dear Jane comes after a hard grind.

“We started this venture during the pandemic, kind of in the heart of the pandemic, and a large part of it was a belief in independent restaurants,” Patty says of the pursuit of prime ownership where an upscale seafood chain used to be. “We knew a space like this wouldn’t be available to people like us in any other situation, because it might have been pounced on by a large corporate restaurant group. Independent operators are getting the cheapest property on a questionable part of a street in a part of the neighborhood that hasn’t really appeared, And we are building our way towards building a community.”

But this time, Röckenwagners and Citrin are beginning to usher in a new era for their sprawling, multi-storey waterfront location.

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“It just felt like landing in a place like this was too good to miss,” says Patty. “We worked on this during tough times for restaurants specifically, but also for everyone, for families, for businesses. Seeing this restaurant come to life feels like maybe the signs of the next stage to us.”

Citrine and Röckenwagners

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The nostalgic food at Dear Jane’s has been calibrated to look familiar, unintimidating, and even simple in some way. But Citrine, whose Melissa remains at the top of Los Angeles’ fine dining, is a chef who prides himself on technical precision. So Dear Jane’s—the team, which includes long-time Citrin right-hand man Ken Takayama, and chef Dominique Crisp—designed dishes like Casino Littleneck clams that are ready to be put into the oven for five minutes whenever an order pops up.

“We take all of these traditional dishes and try to make them compatible with this day and age of taste, lightness, and flavor,” says Citrine. “So it requires technology.”

When searching for caviar-covered fish sticks, Citrine and Takayama hit the freezer aisle to remind themselves of what they want to re-imagine. Then they created their own version using fish moose as a base. Dear Jane sticks are served with horseradish aioli and a dip featuring typical caviar accompaniments such as egg whites and yolks, chives, onions and fresh cream along with smoked salmon roe. This dish is a nod to the caviar-covered “bougie tots” at the Brothers restaurant Dear John’s, a temporary venue that was originally supposed to close in April 2021 but then extended the lease twice and is now in Culver City until at least April 2023.

As in Dear John’s, the food at Dear Jane’s is festive. (“The loie shrimp at the table is like Caesar from Dear John’s,” says Citrine. “It’s about bringing the kind of joy we saw there.”) Dear Jane’s menu has a caviar section known as a “bougie corner.” The restaurant will prepare whole lobsters with orange sauce. Citrin is excited to introduce the “charcuterie of the sea”: premium canned fish on a tray designed and built by Hans (who wrote Dear Jane’s menu with Citrin) to look like the deck of a sea-going ship. And there are plans for various whole fish deliveries, which may include Dover sole and turbot.

“We just find things from the ’60s and ’70s and somehow reinvent them,” Citrine says. “Continental cuisine is what we’re looking for. But at the end of the day, it has to look really real.”

The dining room overlooks Marina del Rey.

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This is true for space itself as well. With its wooden floors, cozy booths, tiered dining room and water views, Dear Jane is like dining on a yacht.

“There is something familiar about it, even though it has been updated,” says Patty. “I think what people will love about it is that it’s familiar and nostalgic without being complicated or dated.”

Everything from the retractable doors built by Hans (a self-taught carpenter besides being a chef, baker, and restaurateur) to artwork selected from the collection of local artist Robert Berman has been carefully considered. Walk around the restaurant’s reception area and you’ll see paintings depicting a diverse group of women who represent every Jane in the world – a fitting introduction to a restaurant that Patti, a proudly Korean-American woman, opened.

And for those who call Dear Jane’s, they will be greeted with a familiar voice. Jamie Lee Curtis, a close friend of the Röckenwagners, recorded the restaurant’s voicemail message. She’s already done the same with Dear John’s, but Seafood-focused Dear Jeans has a custom message that will make fans of A fish called Wanda fainting.

Curtis is working on the voice work for Dear Jane’s

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“It was really her idea,” says Patti.

The origin story goes back to years ago, when Curtis showed up early to dine with the Röckenwagners at a restaurant they had in Santa Monica.

“I think Hans was in the kitchen and I wasn’t there yet,” says Patty. “Next thing you know I walked in and she literally answers the phones at the front desk.”

Of course, Dear Jane’s Curtis actually indulged herself at a preview event in August. The true lies The star is joined by guests dressed in ’70s inspired outfits including Jodie Foster, Sharon Stone and Christopher Guest along with younger stars like Top Gun: Maverick Greg Tarzan Davis. The gathering demonstrated the restaurant’s enormous potential, but the opening of Röckenwagners and Citrin Dear Jane – and all its attendant charm – is of even greater significance.

After years of independent restaurants taking a beating, the trio behind Dear Jane’s wants to be a part of moving forward in a positive way. Because while their restaurant celebrates history, they’re betting big on the future with the belief that bustling independent restaurants still matter and things will get better.

“We hope it rings in what we’ve all been waiting for, which is the roaring twenties,” says Patty. “Hopefully we can at least be a part of setting the tone for that.”