Playa Rivera – 2/10/11
The space is rather small, though strategically-placed mirrors actually made me think it was much larger at first. The bar is stunning with its wall of spirits; cocktails are crafted by mixologist Julian Cox.
A variety of cold/warm small plates and big plates were on offer, as well as some sides. We opted to stick with the small plates, giving us a few more tastes to try.
Octo-Palm grilled octopus, palm hearts, scallions, oven-dried cherry tomatoes, oven-dried red onion
A couple of people had recommended this dish, so we had to try it. The octopus was a little bit chewy, but not overly so, and were complemented with the dried red onion and palm hearts. The oven-dried cherry tomatoes were juicy and delicious…and almost stole the show.
Lipsticks sweet peppers, crab, corn, olive oil, sorbet morado, rosemary oil, sal de colima, citrus-beet pintura
Loved the presentation here. This dish was cool, flavorful and refreshing. I enjoyed the crab and corn stuffed in the chiles, which was a delicious interplay of three sweet ingredients. The sorbet and rosemary oil added extra herb flavor, while giving the dish a cool crispness. Nice!
Flor de Calabaza tempura squash blossoms, Spanish bacalao, veal reduction, chorizo jus, capers, castelveltrano olives
I love fried squash blossoms. The creamy bacalao filling worked well with the crunchy squash blossoms. The olive and chorizo flavors came through as well, though the whole mouthful was a little salty.
Maize Cake Breakfast 63° egg, pan-seared potato, espuma de queso, black trumpet mushrooms, truffle cheese
This would make an excellent breakfast/brunch item…which isn’t to say it wasn’t also good for dinner as well. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and truffle cheese were most evident; combined with the perfectly cooked egg, this made a delicious and savory bite. Roll this up, and you’ve got a heck of a (messy) breakfast burrito!
Arroz con Pato duck confit, baby vegetable pickles, arroz blanco jus, fresno chiles, chives, micro cilantro
I love arroz con pollo so I was eying this dish beforehand. The duck was succulent and tender, and the rice was good too. The tiny baby vegetables added a nice crunch and acidity as well. I just wish I could’ve had this dish by myself!
Tamalli Chateaubriand wild-mushroom duxelles dumpling, filet mignon, chipotle béarnaise
Here we had, essentially, a tamale and slices of tenderloin. The beef was very tender, with some added flavor from a savory béarnaise. The tamale was a little bit dense, but did have an earthy flavor imparted by the mushrooms.
Cauliflower oven-roasted, indian spices, green chiles, chana crisp
We tried one side – this cauliflower. The roasting provided a nice char to the cauliflower, adding extra flavor. However, the dish was a little bit mushy for me.
Luna Mezcal chocolate cake, chocolate glaze, mezcal ice cream, caramel popcorn, spanish peanuts, hibiscus sauce, blackberry basil, sorbet
Dessert number one. The chocolate cake was good – dense and full of chocolate flavor. I don’t have a lot of experience with mezcal, but the ice cream provided a subtle welcome sweetness. There was another sorbet on top of the chocolate which was reminiscent of raspberry, and countered some of the sweetness.
Pastel Café mocha sponge, espresso crème, toffee honeycomb, colombian chocolate ice cream
Dessert number two. The sponge was just kind of weird..it was dry without feeling too dry, but full of coffee flavor. The chocolate ice cream created one of my favorite dessert combinations (coffee and chocolate), and they melded well as the sponge soaked up some of the melting ice cream. Toffee honeycomb added some texture and extra flavor. Delish!
In all, I thought this was a good meal. Sedlar continues to use Latin flavors in interesting, modern “twists” – and, most importantly, they taste good. I actually enjoyed my meal here over my experiences at Rivera – the vibe is a little more energetic and communal.
I love Chrizo it really is one of the best tasting sausages around
thanks for the sneak peek man– photos are awesome! the lipsticks and octo-palm look especially good! given the name of the restaurant, for some reason i was expecting a seafood-focused latin american restaurant but i guess thats not the case haha
Great write up. That is literally a “wall of spirits.” I might have to try this place before Rivera.
What a fun night – and fun group! It sounds like this is a must for when things settle down a bit. I’ve never met a duck confit or fried squash blossom I haven’t liked. 😉
Only nine dishes amongst four people? You cutting back? 😉
Leisa – I agree!
Daniel – I hear you, “playa” does make it sound like it’s gonna be seafood-centric. The beautiully presented plates help for nice pictures!
Pink – haha yeah really..Playa is definitely the “hotter” draw right now.
Diana – Same here! And yes – do check it out…I expect it to be a bit crazy for a little while though.
Kevin – No cutting back here (though, sometimes I feel I should be) – that’s just kind of how it worked out!