After having been enticed by the review in the LAT, four of us went to Malverde for lunch and unfortunately, I cannot recommend it... While the interior, presentation, menu, etc. all gave the impression of haute Mexican cuisine, the flavors were absent from the food. All of the dishes were well cooked (quail, shrimp, duck and scallops), but none of them were memorable in flavor. The waiter recommended the appetizer plate, but of the four items, not one was worth re-ordering.
Considering that the prices are higher than Hausteca in the same plaza, it is tough to choose Malverde over Hautesca since the food was pretty similar in quality and taste. If needing a place for a business lunch, than I would recommend Malverde over Hautesca due to its nicer ambiance, but neither is worth a drive.
As a note, I have never been impressed with Serenata Garibaldi in Santa Monica nor the Pico/Westwood location... so if you like either of those, you might like Malverde.