Jewelz What are we doing today?

31Dec/093

Rivera Restaurant – Downtown Revitalized

It only seems appropriate that the last post of the year focuses on Rivera Restaurant. Rivera Restaurant is one of the cornerstones in the revitalization of fine dining in Downtown LA that started at the beginning of 2009.

Choros al vapor - mussels, chorizo, aji amarillo-pisco broth
Mussel Men

Why does Rivera work? Let's see:

- Bar (Julian Cox)
- Food (John Rivera Sedlar)
- Space and Location (DTLA)

Rivera Restaurant Bar
The Bar at Rivera Restaurant

Rivera masterfully wraps it all together into one clean package, setting the right tone, whether its lunch, dinner, or a just a drink. Working in Downtown LA affords me easy access to Rivera, which seems to be a perfectly good problem for my friends when they visit. The restaurant is split into three sections: a communal dining area and kitchen on one end, the sleek, modern bar/back wall in the center, and a more formal dining room on the other end. Choose wisely depending on the type of atmosphere you are looking for.

Fancy Lights
Fancy lights

Rivera's menu is split in to snacks, small plates, and entrees, which makes it easy to share amongst a group.

Before we get to lunch and dinner though, a few drinks.

Blood Sugar Sex Magic
Blood Sugar Sex Magic - rye whiskey, red pepper, agave nectar, basil

Donaji Cocktail - mezcal, citrus, agave nectar, chapulin salt
Donaji Cocktail - mezcal, citrus, agave nectar, chapulin salt

You're not having a proper meal at Rivera if you aren't going to have one, maybe two, of Julian Cox's cocktails. You can learn more about Julian Cox through FoodGPS' interview.

Snacks

Sopaipillas with citrus butter
Sopaipillas with citrus butter

Tortillas florales - housemade nixtimal tortillas, 'Indian Butter'
Tortillas florales - housemade nixtimal tortillas, 'Indian Butter'
Tortillas florales - housemade nixtimal tortillas, indian butter

Fresh tortillas and fancy guacamole. We can count the flower as a vegetable right?

Cabalito de sopas dobles - two Latin soups, different flavors, different temperatures
Cabalito de sopas dobles - two Latin soups, different flavors, different temperatures

I always enjoy drinking out of a beaker. Reminds me of college, if this was a fancy schmancy college like Williams.

Small Plates

serra ham and idizabal cheese quesadilla
Serra ham and idizabal cheese quesadilla

A really fancy quesadilla. I actually prefer my quesadillas ghetto, like Taco Bell/Del Taco ghetto.

Salad of red cabbage, cabrales blue cheese, lardons
Salad of red cabbage, cabrales blue cheese, lardons

Proof that I eat vegetables.

Choros al vapor - mussels, chorizo, aji amarillo-pisco broth
Choros al vapor - mussels, chorizo, aji amarillo-pisco broth

ALL of Rivera's dishes are plated beautifully. The choros al vapor is no exception.

Tamal - braised pork short rib, seasonal mushrooms, guajillo sauce
Tamal - braised pork short rib, seasonal mushrooms, guajillo sauce

I wasn't a fan the first time around, but the second time was much more flavorful. The "stimulus package" for my stomach might have had something to do with it.

De Mar - chilled Maine lobster with chile verde gelee
Chilled Maine lobster with chile verde gelee

Entrees

braised kurobuta pork short ribs
Braised kurobuta pork short ribs

I've yet to encounter a meat dish that I haven't liked at Rivera. The meat was fall off the bone tender.

duck "enfrijolada", poached organic egg, rioja wine & cascabel chile sauce
duck "enfrijolada", poached organic egg, rioja wine and cascabel chile sauce

It's not an odd looking sea creature, but rather blue corn tortillas, smothered in rioja wine and cascabel wine sauce.

Trucha - Tasmanian sea trout, saffron quinoa, yellow gazpacho sauce
Trucha - Tasmanian sea trout, saffron quinoa, yellow gazpacho sauce

I wanted to take the basket home. Not sure why.

Mole - kurobuta pork chop, mole, sweet potato
Mole - kurobuta pork chop, mole, sweet potato

Normally a skull would be a bad warning, but the warning here is: "be warned, this pork chop is damn good." The Mole was rich and earthy.

Maya puerco pibil sous vide - banana leaf braised pork shoulder, peruvian potatoes
Maya puerco pibil sous vide - banana leaf braised pork shoulder, peruvian potatoes

I wasn't sure what to expect, but the sous vide preparation of the pork shoulder was excellent. Like I said, Rivera is on point with the proteins.

Dessert

Estudio en flan - three different styles of the classic dessert, with three complementary sauces
Estudio en flan - three different styles of the classic dessert, with three complementary sauces

Bizcocho de avellana - hazelnut-chocolate sponge with orange-cava sorbet
Bizcocho de avellana - hazelnut-chocolate sponge with orange-cava sorbet

Both desserts were good, but everyone loved the bizcocho de avellana. The sorbet was a perfect contrast to the hazelnut-chocolate.

The whole post actually consisted of two meals, one lunch and one dinner. This just goes to show you that whether it's lunch, dinner, or a drink, it's hard to go wrong at Rivera Restaurant.

Rivera Restaurant

Rivera Restaurant

1050 S. Flower St. #102
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 749-1460

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Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. holy shit, all of this looked great! pork short ribs – i’m comin for ya!

  2. Did you order everything off the menu? Damn, I go there all the time and I think you’ve tried more than I have!

  3. Matt – I eat a lot and I’m sponsored by This Is Why You’re Fat. J/K. I always have a lot of colleagues/friends join me for lunch/dinner, so we get to order and try more dishes.


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