Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rivera (Los Angeles – Downtown)


I came here for their Happy Hour/Late Night Menu.  Their website is incorrect.  THE COCKTAILS ON THE LATE NIGHT MENU ARE NOT $7 BUT $10.  Their Happy Hour menu isn't much of a deal in my opinion.  The only deal to be had, as far as I'm concerned, are the 4 dollar draft beers.  They have 3 to choose from.

Happy Hour aside, this is a great place to imbibe some fantastic cocktails.  If you can only come here to eat or drink, opt out on the food and head for the bar/lounge.

The food is tasty but overpriced.  The cocktails are on the expensive side too but  you get more bang for your buck.

Cocktails:  For the first round, we had Strawberry Fields & The Donaji.  The Strawberry Fields was sweet, pulpy and the tequila wasn't too pronounced. It's a very friendly cocktail for people that aren't exactly tequila drinkers. $14 dollars though?

The Donaji was also $14 but after one sip, I knew I'd have no problem ordering another one in the future.  Two drinks down and I was already sold on the cocktails here. Anyhow, the Donaji is citrusy and smokey from the mezcal.  Oh, and it's rimmed with GRASSHOPPER SALT!  It was possibly the best drink I had here.  Possibly!

Round two brought a Purple Haze and Blood Sugar Sex Magic. The Purple Haze was light and refreshing. If you like Moscow Mules, you'll love this drink. The Blood Sugar Sex Magic was all that and more. It's a Rye Whiskey cocktail made with muddled Fresh Basil and Red Peppers, sweetened with Agave Nectar. - 5 stars for the drinks

Having ordered 4 cocktails, the restaurant brings you one of their starters FREE OF CHARGE IF YOU MENTION YELP.  The Tortillas Florales are normally $7 BUT thanks to yelp, we received 4 handmade Corn Tortillas [on the house] with pretty edible flowers imprinted on them. They were nothing special in terms of flavor and the flowers on them were there strictly for aesthetics, so no flavor boost there either.  They were served with an  "Indian Butter," which is basically an avocado spread.

My favorite dish was the Piquillos Rellenos.  These are really mild red peppers that have been roasted and stuffed with gruyere, chorizo and raisins. They are small and you get 3 per order for $10. The flavor was great. I would have preferred this dish to have had different textures though. It could have used some crunch or crispiness, but otherwise it was my favorite dish of the three I tried.

Lastly, I tried the assorted Spanish Chorizos with Toasted Country Bread.  My favorite was the fattiest (go figure!) and peppercorn spiced Salchichon. My least favorite was the leanest - the Lomo Embuchado. It was still good though - they all were.

I'm definitely returning for the cocktails but the food, while good, comes in rather small portions and at steep prices.  It just doesn't seem like a good value to me so look for me in the bar.

*I was looking over my billing statement and found a discrepancy.  I WAS CHARGED $10 MORE THAN I HAD PAID.  I called and asked to speak with a manager and I left my information with him.

He said nonchalantly, "THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED," and he explained that he would return my call by the end of the night and have an explanation.  I did not receive a call.  

24 hours later, I HAD TO CALL.  I asked to speak with the manager again to follow up on a billing inquiry.  A different guy - Mathew - answered and when I explained the problem to him, he was completely unaware of my phone call from the previous day.  Again, I left my information but this time with him.  Only, this time I got a call back with the problem resolved.

Thanks Mathew.  And for the other faux/pseudo Manager, "UP YOURS!"

Strawberry Fields (left)-  Blanco Tequila, Velvet Falernum & Strawberries.  Donaji (right) – Mezcal, Citrus, Agave Nectar & CHAPULIN SALT.

Piquillos Rellenos – Spanish Peppers stuffed with Chorizo, Golden Raisins & Gruyere. 

Tortillas Florales – House Made Tortillas served with “Indian Butter."

Spanish Chorizos – (bottom to top) Lomo Embuchado, Chorizo, Salchichon & "I forgot the name of the top one," Served with Toasted  Country Bread.

Purple Haze (left) & Blood Sugar Sex Magic (right) – Rye Whiskey, Red Pepper, Agave Nectar & Basil.


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