Monday, October 3, 2011

Rivera Restaurant - A Culinary Journey

John Sedlar is a Los Angeles chef/restaurateur icon.  In 1980 he opened St. Estephe in a Manhattan Beach strip center where he combined the traditional foods of his Santa Fe childhood with classic French techniques.  This resulted in innovative Southwest dishes that could either delight or bewilder (often at the same time) the local foodies for their ingredients and often outrageous presentation.  I know this because my companion was one of St. Estephe’s first customers and remained loyal throughout St. Estephe’s life even though he lived on the other side of Los Angeles. 

When we learned that John Sedlar had opened Rivera is downtown Los Angeles, my companion could not wait to go, just for “old times sake.”  When I read S. Irene Virbila’s highly complimentary review, I insisted we go immediately, which we did.  We were not disappointed then and have not been during any of our subsequent visits.  Although Rivera looks nothing like St. Estephe, my companion becomes nostalgic when he sees images of the old restaurant that are flashed on the walls.  Personally, I think he secretly hopes to see himself hoisting a glass of champagne with a blonde lovely from another era.

There have been numerous articles about John Sedlar and Rivera in the Los Angeles Times, thus there is no reason for me to add my two cents on the topic.  Instead, I have chosen to take my culinary journey through Rivera with photographs rather than platitudes.  Enjoy.

Tortillas Florales, "Indian Butter" and Xnipek - a Yucatan style charred habanaro "dog's snout" salsa.  That Salsa really has some kick to it and the tortillas are almost too pretty to eat.

Shrimp and Watermelon Mojito Salad, Cucumber & Mint - a perfect palate cleanser, who needs sorbet?

I dream of this salad - Salad of Red Cabbage, Cabrales Blue Cheese, Lardoons....

Poblano Chile Relleno Salad, Smoked Chicken, Corn, and Pimonton Aioli....I'm addicted!

Old-Fashioned Red Chile Chicken Enchilada - simply delicious!

Olive Oil Cake, Creme Fraiche, Strawberry Sorbet, Xerez Vinegar - the perfect way to end the journey.

I love this photo of the bull fighter - reminds me of Hemingway.

The perfect Spanish White Wine - Godello, Rafael Palacios...

The menu options are endless - taste from one, or sample from all!

Wall of Tequila - Gorgeous Room!

The Tequila Bottle Chandeler!

Duo of Gazpachos - Circa 2009

Another Artisinal Cocktail with Gin, Cucumber & Lime - Circa 2009

Purple Rain - Seasonal Cocktail - Circa 2009

Click on the following links to read about Rivera and John Sedlar, his resume and his food.  And for those who like interesting cookbooks, don’t forget to get a copy of John Sedlar’s Modern Southwest Cuisine that was published in 1986 and is sold at Rivera (at least it was when we visited in September).

 Recent article in LA Times Food Section on Chef John Sedlar

S. Irene Virbila’s review of Rivera:

To go to Rivera, reservations can be made online at Open Table or by calling:

Rivera Restaurant
1050 South Flower Street, Suite 102
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Thanks for stopping by Christy's Palate - comments always appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. Those tortillas are absolutely gorgeous - very creative!