Rockwell VT
Everyone's been buzzing about this sprawling new outdoor-backdoor lounge behind Vermont Restaurant, so we stopped in for specialty cocktails including a berry blast Missisquoi Mule with raspberry vodka, crushed berries, framboise liqueur and ginger brandy; and a refreshing Gemini whose two faces are grapefruit-infused vodka, and a touch of jalapeno. There's also a small but quite decent selection of beers and wines by the glass.

You're going to want to hang around for a while to watch the crowd shift from early diners to a late night mix of hipsters and Eastside pretty boys, so settle in at one of the tall tables surrounding the patio's enormous coral tree, or snag a second-floor booth with a view all the way to downtown, and get ready for some tapas-style pub grub.

Leading the menu highlights were the standard Kobe sliders with shallot marmalade and blue cheese, as well as tiny tacos that come with filet mignon asado or spicy ahi with jicama slaw in a taro shell. The crispy skinny fries are rubbed with an intriguingly red Cajun spice concoction, while the truffle goat cheese ravioli with pine nut pesto and parmesan will give your date something to nibble on delicately. Award for best shared plate goes to the hardwood-fired flatbreads, which include one with artichokes, asparagus, peppers, onion, roasted tomato and fresh ricotta. If you're feeling naughty, it's impossible to have only one spoonful of the chocolate chip cookie skillet (exactly like it sounds) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Though there's nothing too new on the menu, Rockwell's beautiful setting, perky wait staff, and in-crowd mean it's already open for business and here to stay.

Address: 1714 N. Vermont Ave.
Cross Street: Hollywood Blvd.
Neighborhood: Los Feliz
Phone: (323) 669-1550
Hours: Mon-Sun 4:00pm-2:00am
Type: Gastropub
Price: $