Essential T: Ahi Tuna Tacos at Rivera

Chef John Sedlar’s new Oro y Plata menu further explores the flavors of the Pacific Rim

The very best Mexican foods start with the letter T—tacos, tortas, tlayudas. Here we showcase the tastiest “T” bites from the streets of L.A.

Chef John Sedlar has been teasing of a future of fusion cuisine in the United States for a long time. It began with his restaurant Bikini in the early ’90s, to his menu of Mexi-China dishes inspired by a visit to Mexicali’s Chinese community a few years back, to his new Oro y Plata menu that’s just a few weeks old. Sedlar recently hired a new chef de cuisine, Hisashi Yoshiari, who worked with Sedlar at Bikini to continue their journey into the flavors of Asia and Latin America, two cuisines that have established relationships in Peru, northwestern Mexico, and Brazil.

California has been home to a fusion of Latin-American and Asian cuisines too, from chefs like Nobu Matsuhisa with his sashimi taco at Matsuhisa and Sedlar’s new ahi taco with ponzu at Rivera. Sedlar has led us on a delicious journey these past five years from Northern Africa to Spain and to the conquest of the New World through provocative plating and Spiceology (stenciled messages drawn with spices on plates at Rivera). Currently, he’s returned to something that’s very Los Angeles—the seamless merging of the gastronomy of our intertwined Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Salvadoran, Japanese, Filipino and other enclaves that intersect in a comical layer of blurred lines.

Sedlar’s ahi tuna taco comes in a crispy, fried wanton taco filled with fragrant ahi tuna and a side of ponzu sauce that come together in a burst of citrus, crunch and spice in a Ventura Blvd. meets Olympic Blvd. marriage of flavors. It’s only recently that Sedlar has warmed to the idea of calling his tacos tacos, and not maize cakes, but Rivera is changing with a dining scene in which tacos are all the rage. The Oro and Plata menu is now being served from Sedlar and Yoshiari with a fusion of flavors that have been marinating for a quarter of a century; what’s old is new again, always at Rivera.

Rivera, 1050 S Flower St. Ste. 102, Downtown, 213-749-1460