Owners Matthew Hechter and Christopher Brandon (Select Hospitality & Design associates with proprietorship in Santa Monica’s Hinterland and New York City’s Hudson Clearwater restaurants) have most recently partnered with acclaimed Chef Diego Hernandez to re-envision the beloved Dominick’s Restaurant in West Hollywood, California.  Following sixty-nine years along Beverly Boulevard, the painstaking planning and design engineering of the space spanned one entire year, with a mandate to honor and preserve what came before, as well as effectively utilize the entirety of the space, much of which has never before been enjoyed by the public.  Fans of the old Dominick’s will immediately note that the entrance has been relocated from the front, indoor dining room to a side garden corridor that was previously utilized only as a service entrance.  This long, graceful entrance corridor is flanked with lush new trees and plantings, offering a nod to the past with a glimpse of the original Dominick’s neon sign that rested atop the building for decades. The corridor sweeps guests into the main bar area, a  uniquely recognizable area of the old Dominick’s, now offering a surplus of marble topped seating arrangements and ample gathering space for cocktails and small bites. The rear gardens now comprise the main dining room of Verlaine, a refreshing garden patio that celebrates the eternal sunshine of Southern California, with open skies and blooming, fragrant plants serving as the casually elegant backdrop to Los Angeles’ most anticipated new menus.  Pinstriped banquettes are arranged in the fashion of old Hollywood, with brass design points merging with black marble, brick, antique floor tiles, and emerald green plaster of paris walls, seamlessly offering a fresh, vibrant vision of Hollywood new and old. The indoor bar and dining room is reserved exclusively for private functions and events.

Hechter and Brandon have partnered with Chef Diego Hernandez to bring an altogether new vision to the Verlaine table. Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, Hernandez has led the kitchen of the acclaimed restaurant Corazon de Tierra for six years, celebrated among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of Latin America (#39 #LatAm50Best), a coveted award that the restaurant has enjoyed for four consecutive years. Hernandez mentored alongside esteemed Chefs Enrique Olvera at Mexico City’s acclaimed Restaurant Pujol (#5 #LatAm50Best) and Chef Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain at Monterrey’s Pangea Restaurant (#19 #LatAm50Best). With Verlaine, Chef Hernandez introduces his first restaurant home in the United States.  Hernandez plans Verlaine to speak to the philosophies of his award winning Baja dining room, offering an intensely focused celebration of California’s organic farming and fishing communities. Hernández’ motto is “organic, local, sustainable,” – his Baja restaurant grows herbs, fruits, and vegetables, producing olive oils and honey, with other ingredients supplied locally. As well, chef has established his restaurant among the most highly coveted by culinary tourists from Southern California and around the globe.  Chef has spent much of the previous year establishing these close, personal relationships throughout the farming regions of California, with a unique vision of seasonality and artistry presented on each Verlaine dinner plate.

Hechter and Brandon tapped L.A. mixologist Aaron Melendrez to create and lead a similarly technique-driven bar and spirits program at Verlaine, offering a nod to the classics that were consequential to the history of the space, as well as a creative offering of signature and market driven offerings that reference the current renaissance of mixology and meticulously crafted cocktails. Previously of Walker Inn, Normandie Room, and Salazar Restaurant, Melendrez has long been working alongside Hernandez to create a beverage program that both complements the market ingredients of the Hernandez’ kitchen and the unbridled creativity of his bar staff.

Select Hospitality & Design was created in 2014 by partners Matthew Hechter and Christopher Brandon, the company behind Santa Monica’s Hinterland, and part of the team behind Hudson Clearwater Restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village.  In partnership with Chef Diego Hernandez, the group will debut Verlaine Restaurant in the iconic former home to Dominick’s Restaurant in West Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Additional chef focused restaurants, lifestyle and design projects are slated by the group to debut throughout Southern California in the coming months.

Chef Portrait


8715 Beverly Boulevard

West Hollywood, CA 90048 


Hours of Operation

Dinner service in the main dining room only

Monday through Saturday, 5pm until 11pm

Reservations highly recommended via OpenTable

Cocktails and light bites in the bar, available nightly via reservation and walkup, 5pm until close.


High resolution images available upon request.

Chef Diego Hernandez Image: Please photo credit Alejandro Alarcon

Hechter/ Brandon/ Melendrez Images:

Please photo credit Select Hospitality & Design


The Verlaine Social Media Platforms






Filed under: front page,IN THE NEWS,NEWS — admin



I welcome 2017 with one positive resolution:

Share the table more often with good friends and loved ones,

And surround myself with brilliant people of good heart and mind -

The thinkers, artists, writers, musicians, chefs, and entrepreneurs

That make our world a better place for all.

The DCPR holiday gift list this year includes

Donations in your honor

To the following  organizations:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Southern Poverty Law Center

Sierra Club

Planned Parenthood

Human Rights Campaign

Lambda Legal

Wishing a safe, happy and healthy holiday season to all!

Dan Cox

COMMERSON Debuts Mid Wilshire Neighborhood Bistro & Bar




Chef Sascha Lyon Debuts Mid Wilshire Neighborhood Bistro 

(With A Slight French Accent)

After quietly enjoying a recent soft opening along a busy stretch of La Brea Avenue, just south of Wilshire Boulevard, Chef Sascha Lyon announces the grand opening of the chef’s very personal passion project, COMMERSON Restaurant on Thursday, December 15, 2016.  Each guest arriving Thursday evening will be greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne to welcome new friends, neighbors, and diners to the COMMERSON table.

A native Angeleno, Chef Sascha Lyon began his career early, working in the L’Ermitage kitchen of Chef Michel Blanchet at the young age of fourteen.  He attended the Culinary Institute of America, going on to mentor alongside Chefs Michel Richard and Alain Giraud at L.A.’s iconic Citrus Restaurant. At the recommendation of Chef Roger Verge, Lyon was hand selected to join twelve young cooks to open Chef Daniel Boulud’s four-star Restaurant Daniel, where he remained for three years. Lyon cooked in London and Miami, returning to New York City to serve as Sous Chef for the grand opening of Keith McNally’s celebrated restaurant Balthazar. McNally later named Lyon Chef de Cuisine for the opening of Pastis, the game changing Manhattan dining room where the young chef devoted the next six years. As Lyon reminisces, “It was a very special time when I was training. All of those great chefs – Blanchet, Boulud, Verge, Richard – they were all in the kitchen cooking every night, they were hands on, they were perfecting their craft and training their cooks every single day. They had yet to begin empire building, and the experience of working alongside them every service was priceless. It was a very different time, when craft, skill, and execution were demanded, and perfection was the aspiration.”  Lyon eventually departed McNally’s team in 2006 to open his own Manhattan dining room, SASCHA Restaurant and Bakery, receiving critical acclaim for years before selling his restaurant and relocating to Los Angeles. Most recently Chef Lyon debuted Delphine Brasserie at Hollywood’s W Hotel, and serving as culinary consultant on numerous projects throughout Southern California.

Named for the French botanist Philibert Commerson, a practicing physician that was among the first to circumnavigate the globe, where he studied and discovered a wide variety of botanicals, nature, and wildlife, COMMERSON presents Chef Lyon’s personal vision of cooking and dining – pristine ingredients, presented simply, and properly executed.  Lyon’s bistro menu is designed to reflect the offerings of the seasonal local markets, yet retain iconic dishes to allow locals to enjoy a sense of continuity, comfort, and familiarity. Large blackboards displayed throughout the restaurant will detail bar menu offerings and daily, market driven specials. Diners will discover new favorites and old classics, combined with the intense French training and execution that remains Chef Lyon’s hallmark, as well as one of the sole restaurants in the city to now offer dining service into the late night. As with Lyon’s mentors, he purposefully conceived the size of the dining room to enable him to remain in his kitchen cooking, every day, and every service behind the stoves alongside his culinary team.

The COMMERSON interiors were an intimate collaboration with Chef Lyon and his wife, artist and designer, Rita Lyon.  “I tried to create a restaurant space that transitions magically from morning to night, an unobtrusive, pleasant place to gather and dine, a raw space that isn’t overly designed yet somehow feels luxurious and elegant. The space naturally echoes the openness of California landscape, while quietly referencing french modernism and functionality with intimate details like the Ada sconce (inspired by Charlotte Perriand) by Brendan Ravenhill and lighting by Workstead. The floors are left concrete, the walls unembellished. The pride of place is in the integrity of furniture, lighting and menu. I chose every material, finish and fixture carefully and manipulated them so as to celebrate each one. The back bar for example is maple ply and designed in a way that highlights it’s beauty and strength. The walls are plaster of Paris, the benches built efficiently in solid ash. I worked with a wonderful craftsman to build the wood and leather benches and the back bar who has been in business in L.A. for over 60 years. Sascha’s relationships with farmers and purveyors are of the same nature and significance. We both believe strongly in collaboration, involving skilled passionate craftsman and artisans in our work.”

Lyon has surrounded himself with an impressive roster of hospitality professionals in both the front and back of house, including:

Pastry Chef Liz Sencion – Following culinary school, Sencion mentored with Chef Malika Ameen at Chateau Marmont, leading to pastry stints at the Beverly Wilshire and Four Seasons Hotels with Chef Lee Smith, The Peninsula Hotel, and Executive Pastry Chef at Hollywood’s W Hotel with Chef Sascha Lyon. Sencion prepares all of COMMERSON’s desserts from scratch, as well as the daily baking of the restaurants many breads, buns and pastry products.

Sommelier Sam Rethmeier mentored alongside Bobby Stuckey at Boulder, CO Frasca Food and Wine, L.A.’s Chi Spacca, and Santa Barbara’s Les Marchands with Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic.  “Each wine is sourced from a producer that is making their wine with the tenets of organics and biodynamics. They’re smaller producers, most revolving around several generations of winemaking skills, passed down one generation to the next. I wanted wine that doesn’t require this extended time of smelling, discovering. I want you to be able to get the glass in front of you, smell it, taste it, drink it, think ‘Oh my god, that’s delicious,’ and then go right back to your time with your friends and family. The wine shouldn’t steal the show, rather add to the beauty of the evening. I hope guests leave and only think ‘that was awesome.’”

The COMMERSON bar and spirits program is led by Judson Stone, a veteran of Steven Starr’s Parc Restaurant in Philadelphia, most recently serving as a brand ambassador for Pernod Ricard and Avion Tequila, with an expertise of the tequila distilleries of Jalisco, Mexico. Stone’s menus reflect the fresh simplicity of the restaurant, utilizing only freshly squeezed organic juices. Say Judson, “We believe that less is more…a great spirit prepared with the freshest ingredients creates the best libation experience. Our drink offerings pair perfectly with the rich flavor subtleties that can be found in chef’s cuisine.”

To celebrate Thursday’s Grand Opening of COMMERSON, Chef Lyon and his staff will welcome diners with complimentary champagne to toast the arrival of the neighborhood’s newest gathering place and dining destination.


COMMERSON Restaurant  | 788 S. La Brea | LA, CA 90036

323.813.3000 | 

Hours of operation: Tuesday – Sunday 5pm until 1am

Reservations: and 323.813.3000

Valet parking is currently available

Friday – Sunday, 5pm – 11pm, $5.00.

Two hour parking validation is offered

for complimentary garage parking,

with entrances on 8th Street and Sycamore.


Brunch and lunch will arrive in the coming weeks.

Filed under: IN THE NEWS — admin



Planning for Paris.

Filed under: WHAT WE'RE READING — admin



North African Roasted Half Chicken

Mary’s free range, Spanish style Israeli couscous,

North African gremolata

The Briks

Filed under: WHAT WE'RE EATING — admin



English Peas page1image2808

w/ Blueberries, Strained Yogurt, Mint, Sweet Garlic, Granola


Filed under: WHAT WE'RE EATING — admin



A sip of something cool with Chef Keller

Bouchon, Beverly Hills

Filed under: WHAT WE'RE READING — admin



Direct from my hometown,

Memphis’ own Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken

Filed under: WHAT WE'RE EATING — admin

71Above Debuts High Atop US Bank Tower

The West Coast’s Highest Dining Destination Is Now Serving


Soaring 950 feet above 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles, high atop the U.S. Bank Tower, 71Above celebrates the diversity of culture and landscape in the City of Angels. Owner Emil Eyvazoff named Chef Vartan Abgaryan and General Manager Alex Hasbany to lead Los Angeles’ most highly anticipated new dining adventure, a restaurant ‘of’ and ‘for Los Angeles.’ Chef Abgaryan’s menus offer a contemporary modern American cuisine that references the ethnic makeup and cultural traditions of the sprawling metropolis; L.A. based Tag Front architecture and design studios employ strategic architectural elements and contemporary decor to both honor and highlight the iconic landmarks and geographic landscape of the extended city; and General Manager Hasbany has teamed with a host of talented L.A. hospitality professionals to bring the crown jewel of the iconic Los Angeles skyline to realization.

71Above diners will revel in extraordinary unobstructed scenery, expanding for miles in all directions.  Tag Front partnered with SageGlass Company to create a seamless view protected from the elements by technological engineering that automatically darken and lightens the glass panes surrounding the restaurant, offering shading in the light of day, while magically lightening as dusk and nightfall arrive. Upon entering the restaurant from the lobby of the US Bank Tower, guests arrive on the 71st floor in a centralized enclosed area that dramatically expands outward as the full restaurant and views are revealed. Tag Front brilliantly references the geography of the landscape below, as well as the flight patterns above through the use of various design motifs.  The 71Above logo on the front entrance floor extends outward in every direction, landing at table tops capped by a compass, alongside artistic directionals beautifully positioned on mirrored partitions that highlight the closest local, and farthest international destinations. Table tops of polished white oak blend with extensive use of white oak columns and mirrored pillars.  Acoustic ceiling pods reference a hexagonal design motif found within the curvature of the rounded building, and reoccurring within multiple design elements including handmade ceramic tile on the walls of the entry lobby and face of the bar counter.  The structural layout of the space affords an unusual mix of seating options, including “quieter dining” for private events or those that prefer to be outside the noise and bustle of the busy restaurant; the chef’s tables, which offer up-close views into the open kitchen; the lively main dining room and the robust atmosphere of the adjoining bar and lounge. Guest may opt to select their preferred dining atmosphere during the TOCK reservations process.

Eyvazoff, Hasbany and Chef Abgaryan have assembled a world class team of hospitality professionals for 71Above.  Master Sommelier Reggie Narito leads a wine team that includes sommelier Catherine Morel, simultaneously building a new program for 71Above and a training ground for those working toward Master Sommelier certification. Mr. Narito’s expertise and mentorship, as exhibited in the documentary “Somm,” is in high demand by wine students the world over. His mastery is witnessed in the wine menus of 71Above, the extensive wine pairing programs, and the ongoing mentorship of the 71Above sommeliers seeking MS certification.  The sprits program is offered in collaboration with Proprietors, LLC and 71Above lead barman, Darwin Manahan.  Guests will discover an extensive mixology program in the bar and lounge areas, as well as curated cocktail selections designed to pair with each course of the dining experience.  Chef Abgaryan created a dining journey that includes a two course lunch ($35.00 pp), three course dinner ($70.00 pp), guided chef’s tasting menus, along with curated wine and cocktail parings ($40.00 pp).  Each menu offering concludes with an array of extraordinary dessert offerings by Executive Pastry Chef Gregory Baumgartner.

Dinner service is offered from 5pm until 10pm nightly, with lunch served Monday – Friday from 11:30am – 3:00pm. Bar menus are offered from 11:30am until 11:00pm daily, with bar and lounge beverage service continuing into the late night hours. Weekend brunch will be added in the coming days.


71Above (NO spacing between “71” and “Above”)

The U.S. Bank Tower

633 W. 5th Street, 71st floor

Los Angeles, CA 90071

213.71above (213.712.2683) |

Hours of Operation:

M-W 11:30am – 11pm

TH-F 11:30am – 12am

Sat 5pm – 12am

Sun 5pm – 11pm

Valet Parking is available street level at the U.S. Bank Tower lobby entrance on 5th St, between Grand and Flower. $10.00 with validation (for up to three hours).

For all private dining requests, groups and events, please contact Cara Kovacs:

213.300.4809 |

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @71Above


Emil Eyvazoff


A native of Los Angeles and among the pioneers in the renaissance of Downtown, Eyvazoff began in downtown’s hospitality and nightlife scene in 2004 with the development of Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant and Elevate Lounge.  Eyvazoff was approached by the ownership of the U.S. Bank Tower in 2013 to develop a unique restaurant concept for the 71st floor. Over the next three years, 71Above was born.  Passionate about food and wine, Eyvazoff belongs to several societies, including the Chevaliers du Tastevin and Commanderie de Bordeaux.

Alex Hasbany

General Manager

Alex Hasbany spent two decades in New York City working in acclaimed restaurants with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian at Patroon, and Tom Valenti at Butterfield 81 and Ouest.  For seven years, he served as General Manager for Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, creating the blueprint for Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges restaurants around the globe. After presiding over the famed Palm Steakhouse on the West side of Manhattan, Alex and his wife relocated to Los Angeles, where he assumed the role of General Manager at The Palm in Downtown Los Angeles, and most recently The Palm in Beverly Hills.

Chef Vartan Abgaryan

Executive Chef

Chef Abgaryan, a native Angeleno, was formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, mentoring at the iconic André Soltner restaurant, Lutèce. He returned to Los Angeles to lead the kitchens of acclaimed restaurateur Tim Goodell’s Red Pearl Kitchen, ‘A’ Restaurant, and Public Kitchen. For the next three years, Abgaryan served as executive chef at Cliff’s Edge Restaurant to great critical acclaim. LA Weekly’s restaurant critic Besha Rodell remarked, “Abgaryan’s food is composed above all else — the chef focuses as much on visual beauty as on taste.” In 2015, Chef Abgaryan joined forces with Emil Eyvazoff to debut a new, world-class dining destination on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower.

Gregory Baumgartner 

Executive Pastry Chef

Chef Baumgartner mentored with the Michael Mina Group at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, MD. He oversaw multiple Mina venues, including Wit and Wisdom, PABU, and LAMILL as Pastry Sous Chef under Chef Lincoln Carson. Baumgartner relocated to Los Angeles, where he joined the opening team at Chef Mina’s Bourbon Steak.  Most recently, he served as Executive Pastry Chef on the opening teams of EP+LP Restaurant in West Hollywood and Spring Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.

Reggie Narito

Wine Program Architect

Reggie Narito is one of few people in the world to hold the prestigious title of Master Sommelier.  He began his career in the restaurant industry at the age of seventeen and has worked in notable Bay Area restaurants including Star’s in San Francisco, Le Papillon in San Jose and the Plumed Horse in Saratoga.   At 71Above, Mr. Narito was enlisted to create a world-class wine program and a pathway for aspiring sommeliers to become future Master Sommeliers. He appears in the documentary “Somm” and the Esquire TV series “Uncorked.”

Catherine Morels

Lead Sommelier 

Catherine Morels currently holds an Advanced Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers, with the Master Diploma well within her sights. She has served as Lead Sommelier at Mina’s American Fish Restaurant and the famed Sirio Restaurant at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. She was most recently the Lead Sommelier at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak LA.

Darwin Manahan,

Lead Bartender

Originally self-taught via the definitive texts of classic bar men Gary Regan and David Wondrich, Manahan enjoyed wide recognition and acclaim as head bartender at Corazon y Miel and PUNCH Bar. His time there proved transformative, both for himself and the restaurant, celebrated as one of Esquire’s Best Bars in America.  Manahan was also named in Zagat’s prestigious 30 Under 30 list of outstanding culinary talents. The creative mind behind the beverage programs at L.A.’s Osso and Cliff’s Edge restaurants, Manahan discovers inspiration in everything from his Filipino roots to the ice cutting techniques of Tokyo’s Hidetsugo Ueno.


Filed under: IN THE NEWS — admin



We will remember their names.


Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Flowers courtesy Chez Panisse

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin
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