The Rockefeller is exactly what you’d expect to find in a beachside gastropub, making a pleasant addition to both Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. Intriguing spins on American comfort classics, a rustic feel with a beachy undertone, and a price point that reminds you it’s a special occasion without breaking the bank. From the plaid-clad friendly service staff to the fun list of beers both on tap and incorporated in the menu, The Rockefeller beckons for the energetic crowd that pours in through its doors.
The Rockefeller’s largely classic American selections embrace touches from Italy, South of the Border and the Far East. The appetizer selections embody this trait more than anywhere else on the menu. The allagash queso, for instance, which has all the elements of the Tex-Mex favorite but goes a step further with added chorizo for a pleasantly smoky character. The truffle mac ‘n’ cheese is a heavenly, creamy compilation with bacon in tow. Add meatballs, flatbreads and ceviche to the mix and you still don’t have the full list of options available.
Burgers are certainly the focal point here, and at that epicenter is the Rockefeller burger, the restaurant’s luxurious namesake with ‘wagyu’ beef, truffle bacon jam, taleggio and garlic aioli for a rich, hearty finish. The everyday diner can still relish in the basics, however, with the American prime burger being an excellent [and economic] option. The Rockefeller gets a slap on the wrist for charging extra for fries, but at least the fries come out in heaping portions meant for sharing.
Sadly the rest of the menu doesn’t live up to the level set by apps and burgers. Tacos leave a lot to be desired in both flavor and portion size, as does the lobster stuffed avocado, which doesn’t contain enough seafood to be worthwhile. Dessert falls short, and while the beer list is robust, the housemade Rockefeller blonde doesn’t hold the character desired from a craft brew.
Back to the upside, though, it’s nice to find a higher-end gastropub with entrees starting at $11.
The Rockefeller has locations in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. Hours vary, but each location is open for dinner Mon – Thurs and for brunch, lunch and dinner Fri – Sun. Average out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée, split side and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$50/person. For more information visit The Rockefeller online.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.