Decided to "take one for the team", and try Verlaine for our first time in this post-Rodell/Instagram apology world.
We had no issues with waiting, given it was an earlier booking, and were promptly seated out in the beautiful patio area.
A server came by, took our drink orders, and described the special of the night not listed on the menu -- in addition to the Sardine Taco, they also were offering Short Rib and Octopus. The fish for both the ceviche and the tostada was Hiramasa (no provenance given).
Obligatory Menu Pics
It did take more than a few minutes for our drinks to come out - maybe 15? - but we weren't terribly bothered, as we were enjoying the atmosphere and a chat.
My wife's Singapore Sling was nice, though not nearly as good as the ones she makes (See: PDT Recipe), and my Chartreuse Swizzel was lovely ... the perfect thing for a pleasantly warm LA summer's evening.
Of note, there still is not a single Mexican wine on the list - either in bottle or glass form - which truly is head scratching, given Hernandez's background in the Valle de Guadalupe. C'est la vie ... and we were in the mood for cocktails anyway.
We'd discussed our menu plan and were ready to order when our server came by with what I thought was a manager - nope. His "section is changing", and she was our new server.
Odd, given the place just opened, but hey-o, let's roll with it (for the record, both were absolutely pleasant).
Our new server asked if we had any questions, and we didn't; time to order!
Except, wait. After ordering the half dozen grilled oysters, and then trying to order the ceviche, she asked "the hiramasa, or the octopus".
As it turns out, we were fortunate to have this new server, as our prior one had neglected to mention all of the specials - the ceviche could be done with either the hiramasa, or octopus (the latter having different sauces, ingredients, thus an entirely different dish); the aforementioned tacos; and, I'm absolutely blanking on the last.
Regardless, we said we needed a few more minutes - fine, no problem - and then eventually ended up placing what we originally intended to order:
Half Dozen Grilled Oysters and the Hiramasa Ceviche
Soft Fried Black Beans and the Short Rib Taco
Sorrel Tamal and the Chochoyotes
So, the verdict?
We enjoyed everything, save the taco (well cooked short rib, but bland all around)
Sorrel Tamal: that masa is ridic. My favorite dish, and I could've eaten several more
Ceviche: really well done; better than some of the ones we had just had in two weeks traveling the Yucatán peninsula. And, if I wouldn't have embarrassed my better half, I would absolutely have licked that Peanut & Guajillo sauce container straight clean.
Beans: The tortillas were a little too thick for me, but damn were they freshly made. So hot I almost burned myself. And the beans were very nice.
Oysters: I mean, freshly grilled oysters in a sage butter sauce? I may or may not have drank them all. Le sigh ...
Chochoyotes: honestlly, the trotters didn't do anything for me. I "liked" this, but didn't love it.
Short Rib Taco: meh
Drinks: We had the Singapore Sling, Chartreuse Swizzle, and Trinidad Sour. All nicely made, and at the least, solid. Nothing AMAZING, but then nothing remotely similar to other reports of sickly sweet drinks.
Service: aside from the server switcheroo, and the intitially forgotten mention of the specials, we were quite happy. There are still little signs things aren't 100% smooth, but we encountered NONE of the issues mentioned here, Yelp, by Rodell et all, or elsewhere.
"Would you go again?"
That's the question, isn't it? I think we settled on this: we enjoyed it, and would HAPPILY return if someone wanted to go. And we would, based on this experience, really enjoy it.
But (here it comes), when friends, colleagues, etc ask for a restaurant recommendation, this will not be on the list of "you really must go", perhaps unless someone reeeeealllly wanted a lovely patio experience.
Fire away with any questions.