Thursday, November 13, 2014
Rate-A-Restaurant #333: Rivera
Restaurant: Rivera Restaurant
Location: 1050 S. Flower St. (Downtown)
Type of restaurant: Latin
We stipulated: For our anniversary, Maria and I wanted to try a new (for us) spot, but we also had time constraints: Both a sitter and a date with KCRW's Masquerade Ball. Rivera worked out timing-wise, looked tasty and was the mid-way point between home and the Park Plaza Hotel (where the ball was located).
They stipulated: John Rivera Sedlar: "When I opened Rivera in 2009, my culinary quest was to reexamine and redefine the five-millennia-deep Latin roots of modern Los Angeles cuisine. We traced those roots across three continents, each of which had a dedicated menu in one of Rivera’s three dining rooms: Sangre (Spain), Samba (Central and South America), and Playa Bar (Mexico). So much has changed in half a decade. I’ve seen Latin food inundate L.A. like a tsunami. Meanwhile, the city’s pace has grown more frenetic and mobile than ever. In this exhilarating food climate, we now offer you loncheras, a procession of rolling service carts and hand-carried trays that deliver directly to you an array of small plates that our kitchen brigade has infused with the vital spirit of New Latin Cuisine."
What we ordered: Chilean sea bass ($17); flan de elite (corn custard, black quinoa, squash blossom sauce, $11); Maize cake po'boy ($11); Tokyo chile relleno (green chile, goat cheese, nori, $12); black quinoa y espinacha (Peruvian black quinoa, spinach, olive oil, $5); olive oil cake, creme fraiche, strawberry sorbet, xerez vinegar ($8). Cocktails included BARBACOA (tequila, chipotle, ginger, lime, beef jerky)
High point: The small plates allowed us to try a wide variety of items -- some bigger hits than others.
Low point: The dim sum-style food sales in addition to the menu is a bit confusing. We already ordered so many things, why top it off with even more items? We chose a unconventional chip/blue potato "guacamole," which was fine, but overpriced for a few chips.
Overall impression: Great space, great cocktails, good food.
Will we return: It's not an everyday restaurant, but I would definitely recommend it when you wanted to go a bit more upscale.