Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Riva: Travi's New Baby

Jason Travi's (of Fraiche) new restaurant, Riva, sits near the Third Street Promenade and is open all-day, probably to accomodate the shoppers. In addition, though, they are also open until at least midnight every day, Mondays included. So there you go, one of my late Monday night dinners!

The restaurant was big but at late Monday night was fairly empty - 3 or 4 tables filled.

We started with some salmon belly crudo with homemade mustard
The salmon belly was smooth and delicious. I have to say I really, really enjoyed this dish. I didn't see it on the online menu afterwards and was pretty bummed :/ I definitely would've ordered it again if I see it!

Next we had the hachiya persimmon with speck ham and arugula
This was again another dish that would make me come back! The persimmon was sweet and ripe - some of the best persimmons I've ever had. They pair very well with the slight saltiness of the speck ham and the arugula provided a nice texture contrast. I think I would come back to Riva even if just for this dish (I'm very partial to persimmons though).

Since the portions thus far were fairly small, we also got the roasted quail with farro and fall squash and pistachio pesto
The quail was decent, but not the best I've ever had. Not as meaty or gamey as I normally like.
I'm also uncertain about the farro combination.

The other main thing Riva offers that Fraiche does not is pizza. The pizzas here are around $15 - not cheap and actually about the same price as Pizzeria Mozza. So how were they?

We had the pignoli pizza (pine nuts, tomato, smoked pancetta, reggiano)
I liked the thin crust and thought that the whole tomatoes were great. The sage leaves added a very nice aroma and flavor. Overall I enjoyed this pizza (although it's expensive).

We also had the eggplant parmesan pizza.
Literally an eggplant parmesan, baked on top of a pizza crust. Quite an interesting dish - hard to eat as a pizza though since the 'topping' was very heavy. This filled us up quite a bit and was pretty enjoyable.

For dessert we went with the sweet potato cheesecake.
An extremely rich cheesecake, especially so since it is sweet potato and also topped with melted marshmallows!
This was actually too rich for my taste - once the ice cream to cut it is gone I couldn't eat any more of it.

Overall I thought Riva was pretty good with a couple dishes that really highlighted the meal and that I would go back for (the salmon belly and the persimmons with ham!).

Riva
312 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
310.451.7482
http://rivarestaurant.wordpress.com

Riva on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

FoodDigger

Great pics, Fiona! I went to Riva during the first week and found that the crusts were inconsistent. Some were thin and chewy, others crunchy and dry. I wasn't impressed by the quail, either. They did have this geoduck crudo that was awesome!
For the money, I'd rather go to Mozza for pizza. I like Riva, but Fraiche will always be close to my heart.

Will

Loving Annie

I'd go for the persimmon with ham, and the pizza !

Merry Christmas to you, Burumun :)

pleasurepalate

That persimmon, arugula and ham dish would definitely be a must try for me when I visit and even though the sweet potato cheesecake may be too sweet for my palate, I might give it a whirl, too. :)

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