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Eater Sneak Peek: Rivera

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With Downtown becoming the Nuevo Latino vortex, we did a little spot check a Rivera during its holiday previews and can happily report that it's nothing like Casa, Provecho, the Conga Room or even Ciudad. The preview was just that---there was a limited food and drink menu, the space wasn't completely finished, and they didn't even start full staff training yet---but it was enough for a taste. It's more loungey and slick than the other newcomers, with a sushi bar-like counter towards the kitchen, a large communal table in the middle, and banquette seats around the lounge. There were also several "tequila chairs" in the bar area, comfortable, low-slung loungers custom designed by partner Eddie Sotto (rumor is they will be available retail sometime in the future). Sitting and sipping there might be a little too inviting.

While he's been keeping it pretty close to the vest, here's what chef John Sedlar is up to: Quality ingredients (delicate crab-stuffed peppers), Latin flavors (sofrito, mole), and a little molecular gastronomy throw in for good measure (you'll see some "clouds," foams, and "caviar"). We had a nice quail dish with black beans and mushrooms (a very brown dish), and scallop crudo with jicama, cucumber and melon. It's a a far cry from the modern Southwest cusine Sedlar was cooking at St. Estephe or Bikini back in the 80s and 90s, but it's just as compelling---he's definitely adding something to the downtown scene, in both technique and flavor. And the man himself, who hasn't been behind the line in quite some time, is holding his own. The bar program is just as serious as any Cedd Moses spot, with all the flair and flourish, custom ice cubes and boutique spirits. The cucumber-y Rivera's Cup is some easy drinking, that's for sure. The restaurant is slated to fully open on Jan. 16.
· Plywood Special Report: John Sedlar's Rivera [~ELA~]
· Sedlar Still Keeping Mum on the Rivera Menu [~ELA~]

Rivera Restaurant

1050 S Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 213 749 1460 Visit Website