Verlaine, the Modern Mexican restaurant in the former Dominick’s space in West Hollywood, closed abruptly last night after a nearly one year run. Chef Diego Hernandez of Baja California’s Corazon de Tierra conceptualized the place with a market-driven approach to Modern Mexican cuisine.
The Latin America Fifty Best chef made a strong first impression with solid reviews from LA Weekly critic Besha Rodell as well as from LA Times critic Jonathan Gold, but the restaurant seemed to have floundered in the past few months. Staff was only notified last week about the closure.
When reached for comment, co-owner Matthew Hechter of Select Hospitality (Hinterland) said that the restaurant was in a “transitional period” and will remain open for private events until further notice. The prime West Hollywood location was often bombarded with lines from next door nightlife neighbor The Peppermint Club, and Verlaine’s quiet cocktail lounge Wild Beast, which opened only in July 2017, was so hidden that few people actually knew about it.
Meanwhile chef Diego Hernandez is on the hunt for a new space, with the intention of cooking pop-ups to maintain his LA presence. The erudite chef is enamored with LA’s restaurant scene and plans to make a comeback in a new location.
Modern Mexican cuisine still has a strong base and a hopeful future in Los Angeles, with a bevy of local chefs like Ray Garcia, Thomas Ortega, and Carlos Salgado preparing some of the most compelling Latin-influenced cooking in the city. Bigtime restaurateur Enrique Olvera is also bringing his New York restaurant Cosme to Arts District by later this year.