Chef John Sedlar has been the master of Southwestern American cuisine in LA for decades, long enough to retire from the restaurant scene for 15 years only to stage a hell of a comeback in 2009 with Rivera Downtown. Playa, his second post-retirement restaurant, is a more casual, playful spot than Rivera—there's a chihuahua in a lucha libre mask on its website—but with the same encyclopedic depth of flavors readily apparent on each shared plate. Choose a thick, chewy maize cake to start: cauliflower rendered four ways, maybe, or the Bombay Taj with pork belly confit. Then try a "cone," which is essentially is a fried tortilla artfully wrapped around careful layers of black bean, olives and capers that meld together for a two-biter. In a town full of hot young chefs, leave it up to Sedlar to show the new kids how it's done.
7360 Beverly Blvd
|Opening hours:||Sat 10am-2pm, 5:30-1am; Sun 10am-2pm, 5:30-11pm; Mon-Wed 5:30-11pm; Thu, Fri 5:30pm-1am|