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RIVERA - John Sedlar's new restaurant downtown


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Restaurants & Bars 9

RIVERA - John Sedlar's new restaurant downtown

foodiemahoodie | Feb 14, 2009 12:46 AM

I liked it a lot, looking forward to going back.

Upscale but casual, it reminds me of Palate, but of course (because of Sedlar) with a southwest spin. A comfortable place for foodies.

I had all starters - just skipped the main courses. This is more fun.

I sat at the lit-up bar near the kitchen, by the big jamon serrano - complete with hoof. (I had some - it's always delicate, smooth, kind of a prosciutto of the gods).

Started with the patates xips - homemade potato chips with lime chipotle creme fraich and caviar. Lovely, simple. Nicely seasoned - one can get carried away with southwestern spices, but he does it in a delicate way so it isn't overpowering. The balance of flavors was right. I will get this again.

Had the homemade tortillas with a touch of guacamole. The tortillas are made in an earthy, rustic style, with flower petals pressed it. You'll likely see this in upcoming reviews.

I had a Santa Barbara shrimp dish, but that was off the menu. The shrimp were perfectly cooked - tender, plump. Sous vide? I didn't ask, I struck up a conversation with someone. We'll see if it comes on the menu.

Then the cordoniz cuba - grilled quail, black beans. The black beans were mashed and spiced and you eat the quail like, well, it was a dip. Had a nice little (spice) heat on it too. Definitely very good and I'll get it again.

Then the "pato al vino" - duck confit in rioja reduction and cascabel (chile). Delicioso! Next time I'd order this with those tortillas to sop up more of the reduction . My favorite of the evening (thought I must admit I'm a sucker for duck confit, this was done right - tender and tasty). Again, the balance of flavors was smart and elegant. (these spices are too often done with a heavy hand - and become too dominant in the dish).

Service was excellent. I was a little smitten with my waitress.

Next time I'll come back with a friend or two or three, order more, get some wine and do this right. Many more things I'd like to sample. Fun food you can take seriously.

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