Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dine LA Pre-View: Rivera's New Sangre Menu

Dine LA 2010 Restaurant Week is back, and it all starts tonight!The dates are Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5, 2010. It's time to get out and try some restaurants that've been on your to dine list.

Last week I attended a Dine LA Pre-View dinner at Rivera arranged by great friend and Pleasure Palate organizer, Brian.

Rivera's Dine LA menu for this session of Dine LA consists of three starters:gaspacho blanco(white gaspacho),caracoles("petit gris" snails), and ensalada flamenca(Sevilla style beet salad);3 entrees:scallops arabasque( a moorish treatment of scallops),gitano(rib eye in a suace of pimenton with potatoes), and the horse latitudes(snapper in saffron); and 3 desserts:quesos espagnolas(spanish cheeses),zaragoza olive oil cake(strawberry sorbet in Pedro Jimenez vinegar), and estudio en flan(three degrees of flan).

The menu offerings are taken from Rivera's new Sangre menu, featuring the culinary influences of Spain prior to the conquest of the Americas. This is the first part of a series of studies in the development of Latin-American cuisine.

Rivera just celebrated its one year anniversary and is going strong as ever, since bursting onto the Los Angeles dining scene gathering accolades from newspapers, magazines and the blogosphere that made Rivera the place to be this last year. It's the only Modern Latin Cuisine restaurant in Los Angeles of its kind, introducing Angelinos to a level of alta cocina(high cuisine) seen in places like Barcelona, Mexico City,Buenos Aires,Sao Paulo, or Sevilla.

So, if you haven't been, Dine LA is a chance to sample the stylings and flavors of Chef John Sedlar, a legend in the LA dining scene long before Rivera ever opened.

The caracoles, or escargot, is arguably one of the best escargot dishes I've ever tasted. The caracoles are so tender, played against the flavors of "crafty" little mushrooms, and an herbal infused sauce just elevates the dish to ecstatic plains.

The night before I had sampled the arabasque. The soulful texture and subtle charms of perfectly cooked scallops with a "moorish"(southern Spain)bed of eggplant, preserved lemon, and ras el hanout(head of the shop), a Moroccan blend of choice spices. This is a dish that has a wonderful marriage of seafood with Moroccan sensibilities, the kind of dish that will have you deciding how best to proportion your bites with scallop, eggplant and sauce for maximum pleasure.

At the pre-view dinner it would be the gitano, a plate to get in touch with your inner gypsy, a bit of macho latino on your plate.

The gitano is a hearty spanish dish of delicious rib eye, with potatoes and onions, accented by a simple yet seductive pimenton sauce.Pimentons are traditionally roasted for 15 days to achieve their sultry essences.

The estudio en flan takes you on a toothsome tour of the dish served in countries across Latin America. The trio of flans increase in sweetness and go through subtle changes in texture. It's a a playful dessert with a sauce to match each flan, but you can cheat if you want, constructing your own combinations. Which one is YOUR favorite?

The quesos espagnoles were my dessert choice at the Rivera Dine LA preview.The cheeses varied from diner to diner giving each of us our own customized cheese plate.I had a nice fresh goat cheese, and two other medium flavored cheeses, all three were very nice, and a savory end to a great dinner.

There are many reasons to go to Rivera, the cutting edge cuisine of John Sedlar, the sleek setting,stirring Angelinos at play, the the creative mixology of Julian Cox, and the pulse of the new Downtown LA.

1050 S. Flower St. #102
Los Angeles, CA 90015

P 213 749 1460
F 213 749 7359

Get your table here at the
Dine LA website


MyLastBite said...

Love the spice stencil on the arabasque!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

I have yet to visit Rivera, but Dine-LA sounds like the perfect time to make a visit! You sold me with the estudio en flan, I am such a sucker for flan. It might be one of my favorite dessert, second to cake of course. And if I may say so myself i make a mean coconut flan!