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Downtown Los Angeles’ restaurant Leña with views from the 24th floor.
Leña restaurant views at Sendero.
Wonho Frank Lee

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Downtown’s Newest Restaurant Details a Pan-American Journey From the 24th Floor

Sendero’s got four spaces in one on top of the Ritz-Carlton, with Corteza and Argentine-inspired steakhouse Leña debuting tonight

Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

When the elevator at the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles lands on the 24th floor, allowing diners to step into the new skyline-high restaurant Sendero, it’s best to take a moment to glance behind the host stand at the enlarged map of the Americas. There’s a bold single line on the map, tracing a journey that starts in Los Angeles and ends at the tip of Argentina.

The map illustrates an adjusted route of the Pan-American Highway, the road network that links through North, Central, and South America. Sendero is meant to trace this journey with its menu, though it deviates slightly from this historic route to follow a more coastal path, outlining chef Kevin Luzande’s travels. Those flavors have now landed at Sendero, which houses his two restaurants and a forthcoming eight-seat chef’s table space, as well as a mezcal library — all tucked into the restaurant spaces that previously housed Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 and Nest at WP24.

Of the four options at the new all-encompassing Sendero, seafood-focused Corteza and Argentine-inspired steakhouse Leña open first, launching tonight, February 23. The Agave Library opens in March as a space to sample rare and small-batch collections of tequila, mezcal, and other agave-based spirits, while Volante — a chef’s table with an open kitchen — starts booking seats at the end of the year. And just like its previous tenant, Sendero boasts a striking north, east, and western view of LA, though the interiors have been completely overhauled by EDG Design.

A host stand and map of the Americas at Sendero restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Entry to Sendero.
A nighttime view of Downtown Los Angeles at Leña restaurant.
The views at Leña.

The journey begins with Corteza, which fills the front end of the sprawling space and tracks through the Sea of Cortez between Baja California and central Mexico. Luzande places emphasis on seafood with a Peruvian tiradito/crudo with Hokkaido scallops, ceviche Nikkei, and a tuna tostada that takes cues from Mexico. For entrees, Luzande prepares a mushroom/huitlacoche tamal with mole negro, and a black truffle preserve. All desserts — including a vegan panna cotta and a chocolate skull Dia De Los Muertos confection that melts in dramatic fashion — are by veteran Bottega Louie and Pendry Hotel pastry chef Francois Behuet.

When walking through Corteza to visit Leña, the future sites for the Agave Library and Volante are nestled directly in the center. Leña has floor-to-ceiling windows, private dining areas, and dark, moody lighting in comparison to the adjacent Corteza. Luzande’s Argentine-native sous chef Pedro Passalacqua developed a menu where some traditional and newer spins are on display, from the Argentine provoleta (grilled provolone) to the seafood platter “macho” filled with crab claws, oysters, lobster, and large shrimp. The corta de gaucho includes a wagyu double tomahawk carved tableside with a choice of four side dishes, including wild mushrooms in Madeira cream sauce and herbs, or a Spanish tortilla with provolone.

Both Corteza and Leña’s cocktail menus are exactly the same. The spirits range from tequilas to rums to Brazilian cachaca, while drinks like the palo santo are made with Bookers Unfiltered bourbon, amaro, bitters, vermouth, and a lot of palo santo smoke. The agave goddess Mayahuel cocktail — named for the Aztec goddess of agave — uses Casamigos Blanco tequila, Banhez mezcal, carrot, Ancho Reyes poblano liqueur, and lemon.

An agave cocktail served in a metal container at Sendero restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Agave goddess Mayahuel cocktail with Casamigos Blanco tequila, Banhez mezcal, carrot, Ancho Reyes poblano liqueur, and lemon.
A cocktail encased in glass with palo santo smoke at Sendero restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles, California.
A cocktail made with Bookers Unfiltered bourbon, amaro, bitters, vermouth, and palo santo smoke.

If chef Kevin Luzande sounds familiar, that’s because the chef spent years leading in LA kitchens like Acabar and Playa Restaurant, which now houses Petty Cash Taqueria. He left the industry in late 2019 and took a position in construction building houses, but has returned to cooking as of 2022, though it wasn’t without some thought. In fact, he turned down the Sendero position twice before accepting the job, but ultimately took the job in part because he felt that he could be a mentor for a new kitchen crew.

“I’m trying to build them up and see them work at great restaurants,” says Luzande. “I want to turn dishwashers into cooks, cooks into junior sous [chefs], and sous into great chefs.”

Corteza and Leña are open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. When it opens next month, the Agave Library will open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.

A Nikkey-style ceviche with salmon at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Salmon ceviche Nikkei at Corteza.
A seafood stew dish called seven seas cataplana from Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s seven seas cataplana.
A mushroom tamale at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s mushroom tamal with mole, huitlacoche, crema, cotija, and black truffle preserve.
A “ceviche” made with hearts of palm at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s ceviche bomba with hearts of palm.
A mushroom tamal with mole sauce at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Mushroom tamal at Corteza.
A seafood platter with oysters, shrimp, lobster, and stone crab claws at Leña in Los Angeles, California.
Leña’s seafood platter macho.
Tuna tostada with sea urchin at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s tuna tostada with sea urchin, avocado, salsa macha, and picked onion.
Crudo made with Hokkaido scallops at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s tiradito Hokkaido scallops with aji amarillo.
A Day of the Dead dessert at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Day of the Dead dessert at Corteza.
A burning Day of the Dead dessert at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles.
Burning dessert.
A burning dessert revealing a Day of The Dead mask at Corteza restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Melting chocolate Day of The Dead dessert.
The dining room at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza dining room.
The Downtown Los Angeles view at Corteza restaurant.
Corteza view.
The seating area at Corteza restauant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza seating areas.
A seating lounge area at Corteza restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Hanging laps and cozy lounge at Corteza.
Custom wood panels in a dining area at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Wood touches at Corteza.
A dining area with hanging lamps at Corteza restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Corteza’s secondary dining area.
An open kitchen and eight seats at Volante’s chef’s table in Downtown Los Angeles.
The future home of Volante, Kevin Luzande’s chef’s table.
A photo of chef Kevin Luzande cutting a steak at Leña restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Sendero chef Kevin Luzande.
Side dishes at Leña steakhouse in Downtown Los Angeles.
Leña’s side dishes: tortilla de papas, pan/bread, and abuelita’s grilled vegetables.
Wild mushrooms in Madeira sauce at Leña restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Wild mushrooms at Leña.
A Wagyu double tomahawk with side dishes at Leña restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Wagyu double tomahawk with side dishes at Leña.
A Wagyu steak and side dishes are cut tableside at Leña restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
A bird's eye view of Leña restaurant’s Wagyu tomahawk cut tableside.
Leather banquette seating at Leña restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Leather banquette seating at Leña.
Leña restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles with floor to ceiling windows.
Leña views.
Wonho Frank Lee
Seating with a view at Leña restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Leña seating.
A private dining area at Leña restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Leña’s private dining room overlooking the main area.
Leña steakhouse in Downtown Los Angeles.
Steaks with a view.
A Downtown LA skyline view at Leña restaurant in Downtown.
Leña’s corner view.

Sendero

900 West Olympic Boulevard, , CA 90015 (213) 743-8824 Visit Website
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