John Rivera Sedlar makes tamales that seem lighter than air, and at Playa he offers a particularly playful and visually stunning version. A Chilean humita steamed with Baja surf clams, it's coated in a pungent green sauce of chives and Fresno chiles, then steamed and served in a giant clamshell. Botticelli ain't got nothing on this. With his aesthetic rigor, his sense of symmetry and his keen attention to detail, Sedlar's dishes ought to be dissected by art theorists for their influences. Instead, this is edible art that diners can, thankfully, dissect with a knife and fork. 7360 Beverly Blvd., Mid-City. (323) 933-5300,

—Elina Shatkin

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