Through September, John Rivera Sedlar is bringing back the menu from Saint Estephe, the Manhattan Beach-based Southwestern cuisine pioneer he opened in 1981, over dinner at Rivera. One look at the menu (Ris de veau chile con queso, enchilada aux crevettes et poireaux, huevos rancheros au chevre) and it's clear the chef was full of mind-blowing vision and an allegiance to native ingredients even at the age of 23, when he first fused traditional French cooking with techniques and recipes from the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, and Central America. One look at the dishes, and it is obvious Sedlar's obsession with artistry and conceptualism on the plate has been humming through him long before he brought spice stencils to Downtown. All the beauty and daring he brings to Rivera has boiled in the toque for decades, making it a wonder to behold the through-line from his impassioned beginnings to his celebrated place as L.A.'s king of modern Latin cooking. Take a look at our slideshow to see a few of the dishes Sedlar is reanimating from Saint Estephe to serve at Rivera next month.
Kachina Mosaic of American Caviars with Chopped Eggs and Endive Feathers
Here Sedlar creates a Pueblo kachina mask using red and black caviar, chopped eggs, and onions, making the headdress out of endive.
Huevos Rancheros #1 Au Chevre
Scrambled eggs mixed with chevre, jalapeno, sweet pepper, and blue corn arrows.
An amuse bouche of tortilla stars, stripes of avocado and tomato, and corn and tomato.
Chimayo Chile Relleno
Stuffed with mushroom duxelle with garlic chevre sauce. Those are lighting bolts.
Salmon Mousse Tamale
This was probably the coolest dish to hit the table, a tamale made of salmon mousse and ground nixtamal steamed in a corn husk and served with a cilantro cream sauce.
Scallops in a Roquefort cheese sauce, served with tortilla points.
Weaving of Salmon
Ah, the eighties...
Salmon Painted Desert
A steamed salmon filet served with three sauces.
On a bed of jicama in a jalapeno vinegar sauce, served with steamed vegetable flowers.
Pork Saddle with Yucca Root
Blue Corn Meal Crepes
Served with pumpkin ice cream.
Served with fresh fruit and cactus cookies. The looping lines make Sedlar think of the movement of a tumbleweed.
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