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Hate the Game, Not the Playa

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While Grace still seems set to expand into downtown's Vibiana (per Neal Fraser at Cochon 555 the lease has yet to be signed), her former home has been renamed and re-imagined as John Sedlar's Playa. Rivera, Sedlar's downtown ode to high-end Latin-fusion, has achieved critical acclaim and remains a downtown hot spot. Back in February, Sedlar told LA Weekly about his inspiration for Playa: "...through Playa's urban Latin cuisine I'm striving to create food that is both relaxed and sophisticated, rooted in the past and looking towards the future, global yet particularly Angeleno in its sense of playfulness and creativity -- in short, uniquely L.A." So now, several months later, how does Playa measure up? Here, we listen to the critics, the people and (sigh) the Yelpers. Add your own thoughts down below.

The Design News: "...this place is horrible looking, what is that some kind of dr seus creatures on the ceiling?" [Eater Comments]

The Graceful Service News: "The service is gracious (sorry former tenant for the pun) and considerate." [Yelp]

The Sound Level Check: "Outstanding food, very good service, good ambiance BUT it is sooooo loud that you need to bring hearing protection. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. and had four at our table in the middle of the restaurant; we could barely carry on a conversation. They really need to put sound deadening material in the ceiling to tone it down a bit. Yeah, I know all owners want that "lively" feel, but this is way over the top." [OpenTable]

The Grub News: "Grub is eclectically influenced by the Latin world, as well as the Southwest and India, and includes unique deliciousness like skate wing w/ tamarind-cinnamon gastrique and red lentils w/ chorizo, arroz con pato (rice w/ duck confit, baby vegetable pickles, & micro cilantro), and a slew of "maize cakes", which're essentially homemade soft tacos stuffed w/ "black garlic & olive 'soil'" and pork belly confit..." [Thrillist]

The Snappy Clam News: "A humita is a pre-Columbian dish of cornmeal dough (masa), ... It was one of my favorites of the night, and I adored the snappy consistency and brininess of the clam, and how it played with the sweetness of the bell pepper and creaminess of the cheese, all under the overarching tang of lime pesto. Just a stupendous mélange of flavors..." [kevinEats]

The Pork News: "There aren’t many “big” plates on Playa’s menu, but the dishes that made the cut in that category have been worth the added expense, including Puerco ($25) ... The pork appears with sauteed pea tendrils, decorative dots of salsa verde, half-moons of sweet caramelized manzana (apple) and a topside thatch of aromatic sage leaves, which all help the dish to achieve porcine harmony." [Food G.P.S.]

The J.Gold News: "The Playa kitchen, which is more fun than the somewhat rigorous Rivera, is Sedlar's playground, equipped with all the toys and esoteric ingredients of the modernist kitchen, but more playful." [LAW]

The Genius News: "had the most amazing meal at playa last night... finally, a los angeles chef who is making a lasting impression on my foodie heart. the portions are quite generous, presentation is wonderful and sedlar's garlic olive "dirt" sprinkled on most dishes is genius. " [Yelp]

The Virbs Goes Wild About Maize Cakes News: "Maize cakes are more like tortillas. Of course you can get the tortillas florales pressed with flower petals that became such a hit at Rivera. But also maize cake with cauliflower prepared three ways and a veil of curry espuma (foam). Or with a 63-degree egg, black trumpet mushrooms and potato. It's pretty wild." [LAT]

The Best Bar News: "The bar is one of the best in town. The cocktail menu is extensive, and each drink is made with fresh ingredients and quality liquor selected from a high lit wall with shelf after shelf of pretty bottled alcohol." [Yelp]

The Bad Bartender News: "Great service, except at the bar, the bartender almost ruined the night because of his bad attitude.... But our server and the GM and fantastic food more than made up for it!" [Yelp]

The Not That Great News: "This place wants to be a Mexican gourmet restaurant, with a complicated menu and small plates that come at high prices. We should have been suspicious when it was half empty on a Friday night... the fish was bland and most of the sauces tasted like straight out of the Whole Foods fridge." [OpenTable]

The Excellent News: "I went with my wife for Valentine's day and we both loved it. The food was overall outstanding the service was prompt and very friendly. The cocktails (Julian Cox of Rivera was helming the bar) were excellent." [Chowhound]


7360 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 323 933 5300


7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

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