This city will always love its old-school wet burrito palaces. But some of the most exciting restaurants to have opened in the past few years are modern Mexican places serving lamb neck tamales and yellow moles. That said, calling your restaurant “modern Mexican food” isn’t enough to actually make it exciting. Just take Verlaine, for instance. Home to some of the most boring Mexican food in LA.
Let’s start with the good news - Verlaine’s space is great. It’s basically one giant patio (which used to be Dominick’s, RIP), with an attached bar and a small indoor section if you’re one of those people with temperature anxiety. This is one of the best outdoor spaces in West Hollywood, and we stand by that statement even now. But unfortunately, the good times end there.
Plain and simple, the food at Verlaine is just not good. Is it edible? Yes. But for the hype that surrounds this place and the price you’ll pay to eat here, we’ve seen everything before and in much better versions. The best thing on the menu is probably the fish tostada, but let’s be honest, you could throw a cheesy gordita crunch in this town and hit a spot that serves solid raw fish on a crispy tortilla. The sorrel tamal, stuffed with corn masa and topped with mole, definitely passes the eye test when it hits the table, but is void of any flavor whatsoever. There’s a beef tartare, some root vegetables, and a half chicken you’ve probably made at home before, and that’s about it. If you’re looking for any type of creativity, you will not find it.
But then you look around at who’s dining here, and it all makes sense - Verlaine is a total scene. No one here gives a sh*t if the food is modern, or really anything else about it. They’re here to drink mediocre cocktails and be photographed while doing so.
Verlaine can be boiled down to pretty people trying too hard inside a restaurant that’s not trying hard enough. And that’s about as unexciting as it gets.
We’re particularly mad about this one because this it should’ve been great. But the corn masa dominates the entire thing, and it all becomes too starchy and instantly forgettable.
This is the best thing at Verlaine and the 10th best thing at any other good modern Mexican restaurant.
The pickled pig trotter (yes, that’s pig’s feet and no, it’s not as weird as you think) is fine, but why they chose to scatter it with mole-covered corn masa balls is beyond us. The whole thing ends up tasting exactly like the tamal (hello again, starch) and that’s not what anybody wants.
It wouldn’t be a restaurant appealing to the masses if there weren’t beets on the menu.
Yawn. We’re getting tired now.