When food is love, nothing else matters: Rococo on Western

Last Updated: May 10, 2024By

If you have been around Oklahoma City for a while you have undoubtedly heard of Rococo. If you haven’t, or if you haven’t experienced the reimagining of Rococo recently, you are missing out. So, let me tell you about one of my favorite eateries and chefs. Rococo sits in a land of its own as there really aren’t too many East Coast Style seafood-focused restaurants in the prairies of Oklahoma. Bruce Rinehart has been turning the OKC restaurant scene on its head since 2003 when he moved here from Boston.

If you know Bruce, you know love. The theme of his food is the theme of his life, all love. He is the quintessential example of a family man. On any given day, you can see Bruce or one of his two boys working the floor at the restaurant, spreading the love. There is a lack of family connection in most restaurants and it’s refreshing to see in the Rinehart family. As an extension of the family, Chef Jason Bustamante has been with Bruce from the beginning of the Rococo journey after moving to Oklahoma to help start this crazy little idea that so many have come to love over the years.

A couple of years ago, it was time for a change, and the perfect location popped up and the reimagined Rococo on Western opened its doors on Black Friday or 2020. On a personal note, I am a huge fan of this location as it holds a lot of history personally for me and for a lot of OKC-ites. For me, I remember starting my second business sitting at the bar for Cafe Nova’s infamous happy hour. There have been some great concepts at 4308 N. Western, but I think this one is here to stay. Before opening Rococo on Western, the team did a full renovation on the space making it something magical and added their patented Rococo elegance and comfort, complete with a wood fire stove, a Huge tropical fish tank, and a giant rhino out front. They also fine-tuned the patio into something that begs for Sunday Mimosas and Crab Cakes.

Now, how about that food? Chefs Rinehart and Bustamante have created some of the most amazing food in Oklahoma City for years and it just keeps getting better. With the transition to Rococo on Western, they shifted from East Coast with a few very well-done seafood items, to a full-on East Coast seafood sensation. They still have some of the classic favorites from over the years like Bruce’s big meatballs, grilled pork chops, and Petite Filets but the bulk of the menu is right off the pier.

You can’t talk about Rococo without talking about Crab Cakes. No one, I mean no one does it better. It’s legendary from Baltimore to LA. Now, if you don’t know Baltimore is known for the Orioles and Crab Cakes, and while you can’t always count on the Orioles to win the World Series, you can count on a lot of amazing Crab Cakes. So, when the people of Baltimore are coming to Oklahoma to get a Crab Cake, you should probably do likewise. The Rococo Crab Cake is all about the crab. You take a couple of crackers, a binder then fresh jumbo lump crab, and then bake it. That’s it, it’s gorgeous and you have to try it.

If you are a true seafood fan, you absolutely have to try the Rhode Island Fisherman Stew. In general, I am not a big stew fan, but this dish has me rethinking my preferences about everything. On their menu, it says “all the beautiful things we do with seafood in one dish” and they aren’t joking around. Shrimp, scallops, clams, and sausage in a tomato base with a couple of slices of toasted to perfection bread to sop up all the amazing flavors in this delightful stew.

The word on the streets is that Rococo’s Calamari is an absolute must try and I absolutely agree with them. Calamari is one of those dishes that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. This dish is no ordinary squid game, it’s done right and they give you two options. The Traditional Calamari is served fried to perfection with Rococo’s own marinara sauce that creates an amazing flavor combination. The other style is Rhode Island style, with garlic butter, banana peppers, and cherry peppers. The sweet, tangy, and slight heat of the peppers with the garlic butter and Calamari make your tastebuds scream with joy as you realize why Rococo always talks about Food is Love.

There are so many other delicacies on this menu that really do shine, such as the Lobster Roll, the variations of Seafood Risottos, Oysters, Clams, Octopus, and I could go on and on. Spring is in the air making it a perfect time to visit Rococo for some patio vibes with amazing food and one of their amazing cocktails. Yes, they have a beautiful selection of cocktails as well, like my personal favorite, the Pecan Old Fashioned.

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