John Sedlar’s comeback keeps on rolling. He’s just been named chef of the year by Esquire magazine. Not bad for a guy who spent more than 15 years without a restaurant.
In addition, Steve Samson and Zach Pollack’s Sotto and Kris Morningstar’s Ray’s and Stark Bar were among the magazine’s best new restaurants of the year.
Sedlar, you’ll remember, was first heralded in the 1980s when his nouvelle Southwestern food at Saint Estèphe in Manhattan Beach attracted national attention. He went on to open Bikini in Santa Monica; changed its name to Abiquiu, then finally closed it in the midst of the mid-'90s economic recession.
Two years ago, he came back on the scene with Rivera, across from Staples Center downtown. Then this year, he opened Playa in the old Grace space on Beverly Boulevard.
The best restaurant of the year was San Francisco’s Michael Mina.
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-- Russ Parsons
Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times