I'm tempted to use some kind of Eurocentric comparison to sum up Verlaine, something along the lines of how chef Diego Hernández's talent for burnt peanut sauce is just as impressive as the skill of a chef who has mastered sauces with cream or butter at their core. But that would undercut the newness of this food and the history that came before it. If I need to tell you that Mexican flavors are capable of being just as complex and delicate and cerebral and pleasurable as French flavors, you're probably not the right audience for this restaurant. If you are excited at the prospect of our city's modern Mexican offerings getting more diverse and expansive and impressive, then you're in luck. Because although Verlaine still has its flaws, at his best Hernández delivers some of the most thrilling food I've eaten in L.A. this year.
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