On November 13, Ivan Kane and wife Susy invited me to attend a media dinner at their latest venture at Sunset + Vine. The couple had prior successes with Forty Deuce on Melrose and Deep at the corner of Hollywood & Vine. Remember the pulsing nightclub at the beginning of “Ocean’s Eleven”? That was Deep. Ivan and Susy Kane clearly know how to create a vibe and are hoping to score again with Café Wa s.
We filed into the mezzanine bar lounge, an “absinthe bar” that overlooks the moody New Orleans-style dining room. Jason Volenec and Silvia Zofio from RKIT Design molded Schwab’s former home. Booths emanate in concentric circles from a rotating 1924 Mason and Hamlin grand piano. This wasn’t stale piano music. The singer was playing the kind of music you’d hear on KROQ or Indie 103.1.
The restaurant’s name has drawn puzzled glances from passersby and even some ire from L.A. food bloggers. Here’s the short explanation: Kane found a neon sign in a Vegas junkyard that read CAFE – ALWAYS OPEN with all but the W, A and S burned out.
Chef Alex Reznik is turning out seasonal French bistro food. He sources ingredients locally whenever possible, including shellfish from Carlsbad Aquafarm. Kane found Reznik in Las Vegas, where he was chef at Bally’s Steak House and Les Artistes Restaurant, and before that at Lutèce in the Venetian.
Here are selections from the media dinner menu, to give you a sense of what to expect:
Mezzanine Bar Lounge
Traditional Absinthe Cocktail (made using absinthe fountain and sugar cubes)
Café Wa s Champagne Cocktail with St. Germain
Main Dining Room
Coquille Saint Jacques (sea scallops) – potato puree / chanterelle / pork belly / chicken jus
Medallion de Crabe Napoleon – lumb crab / heirloom tomatoes / avocado
Served family style:
Gratin de Macaroni / mac ‘n cheese
Haricots Vert / French green beans
Les Champignons Sauvages / wild mushrooms
Pumpkin Spiced Beignets – cranberry marmalade / brown sugar vanilla ice cream
Update: Cafe Wa s no longer is, since they closed.