It is not often that we get to repeat the past, which is probably a good thing for most of us. But in John Sedlar's case, it can be a thing of beauty. If you did not have the pleasure of eating Sedlar's food in the late 80s, now you have your chance: Jonathan Gold considers Sedlar's Saint Estèphe menu, available all this month at Rivera.
For the month of September, Sedlar has embedded the 1986 Saint Estèphe menu within the menu of his Rivera, and it is a fascinating look at the food at an important moment in Los Angeles culinary history, like a set by CSNY tucked into the context of a Neil Young concert. That chile relleno, that interplay between the goat cheese and the suave chile flesh, the impossible butterfat bomb of the cream sauce and the duxelles, is as precise an evocation of the past as anything I've ever encountered. I want to listen to Wham records again.