Last Minute Dinner Recommendations -- Mexican

A friend visiting from Asia is unexpectedly free this evening and has requested Mexican.
Any good recommendations? Willing to drive, but homie wants to meet at 7 and its Friday and I’m on the Westside when rush hour starts.
I’m willing to accept the answer is Mercado, but hoping for more.

If Mercado means you’re willing to drive to WeHo area, then Verlaine is about a thousand times better than Mercado in the same area.

Despite their initial phase of being terrible, their recovery phase as left them an astounding Mexican establishment.

1 Like

I’d go to Lares on Pico near 28th st. Awesome service and classic plus great drinks. A few bars nearby too if you have more time. Have fun!


Another vote for Lare’s

1 Like

Monte Alban on SM Blvd between Barrington and Bundy.


I think I can get to Verlaine so I’m headed there now.
Thank you, hive mind!
Will report back.

1 Like

Wow! Verlaine was absolutely dead. On a Friday night. The is no way they last long term. Unless the slow night was due to the city literally burning down around them. I mean, I guess that might be an issue.
Food was really nice. We ate light, so didn’t sample a huge portion of the menu, but everything we had was excellent.
We ordered:
Scallop aguachile – they were generous with the fresh and very sweet scallop. The understated aguachile sauce kept this dish from blowing me away.
Fish tostada x 2 – this was packed with flavor. It was dark in the restaurant, so I couldn’t make out all that was going on, but I would have happily eaten three or four of those.
Beets – these were wonderfully prepared. Sweet, earthy, and were not the faux-roasted-really-steamed versions lots of lazier places serve. Enjoyed the roasted garlic flavor with the char of the beets.
Beans – well, I cook beans at least once a week. These were better than what I cook by a large degree. Rich, creamy, complex. My one quibble is that the cheese buried under the beans was relatively bland and just wasn’t needed. But that really is a quibble.
Sorrel tamal – wonderful. That masa was just wonderful. I mean. Jesus. The masa. Have I mentioned the excellent masa? No? The masa was light, fluffy, moist, and infused with flavor. Great dish.
Corn cake for dessert – corn cake itself was good. Appreciate that nothing in this dish was overly sweet. But the accompanying ice cream just let it down. This was a mild disappointment as a composed dessert with a main component being really good but left unsupported by the rest of the dish.
Tried to push for a meaty main, but friend wasn’t super hungry. Or didn’t realize I was paying and was keeping things on the cheaper side. Was hard to gauge. The meal really would have been great with one more large dish.
I tried the old fashioned and the martini. I wasn’t looking too closely, but I’m not a fan of savory martinis nor of vodka martinis and that’s precisely what this was. Oops. My bad. Well made, but really not my thing. Old fashioned was excellent. Absolutely perfectly made.
Service was excellent.
If the place is regularly this slow, I’d recommend going soon for a quiet dinner with someone you want to talk with.
Think of it as a much more understated Broken Spanish. Both serve very thoughtful and meticulously prepared Mexican food, but the flavors and atmosphere at Verlaine and generally more subtle.


Yeah, it’s the easiest place to get into super easily for an excellent meal in all of LA right now. It seems like it must be because of their initial phase where they just had awful food and tons of issues? I am not sure what they can do to convince people to come back and try them, but I hope they do somehow. You’re really right about it being a great place to eat well and have a quiet dinner, something incredibly difficult to find in LA unfortunately.

Glad you mostly enjoyed the meal!

Yo I hit up El Coyote on Beverly with a buddy last night before going to New Beverly…shit was dank yo…chicken tamale was bomb.

For some reason I feel like Verlaine is a good (to maybe even very good) restaurant in the wrong location.

Took my own advice and ate at Verlaine tonight.

Fortunately, it was mostly full tonight.

Food was excellent except for the chicken, which came out so dry that I had to return it. But most everything else was really good. They are incredibly generous with the superb quality scallops for the $17 aguachile.

It probably is the wrong location, but man is it nice to have a restaurant of this caliber that you can easily get a table for 3-4 people at in the middle of a Saturday night, and have it be quiet enough to talk to each other, plus great service…

It’s truly a gem, that is sort of hidden at the moment. I hope they last, though.

That could very well be. Being dominated by Cedars and the Beverly Center, the immediate area is one my mind kind of glosses over when I’m thinking of going out to dinner.

AOC is also a rather great restaurant in that same area. Worth redirecting the brain to the area once in a while!