Phil Howard's Laurel Hardware opened for dinner last Thursday in an old hardware store in West Hollywood, giving the space a rustic remodel with bare bulbs, exposed rafters, starched tiles, hardwood floors, lush loungers, and a jumble of lumber tables surrounding its mirrored-backed bar, centrally situated in a glass-encased rear room of floor to ceiling windows overlooking a garden patio. A more modern cafe space with an open kitchen and ivy snaking up the walls sits in front. Chef Mario Alberto, who astounded Downtown with his modern Peruvian food at Chimu and has also shed blood and sweat at Gjelina, Freddy Smalls, Mo-Chica, and Lazy Ox, is in charge of lunch and dinner menus here, stuffed with super-seasonal small plates, burgers, salads, and pizzas.
Dishes include the chef's signature "LH" Burger with rocoto aioli and comte cheese, beef shoulder tender with olive butter, apple cider pork belly in green barley with pear, coconut milk and Thai basil PEI mussels, hatch chile and smoked goat cheese pizza, and another pie topped with merguez and dandelion greens, while brunch is soon to come.
Squid Ink's Andrew Simmons notes the restaurant's cocktail program, designed by Hotel Shangri-La's Cole Apodaca, and featuring drinks like the "Gangster," with watermelon juice and cucumber-infused vodka. Meanwhile, neighbors are so far split on the food in the comments in West Hollywood Patch; At least those neighbors who are less concerned with who the staff is choosing to screw in their off-hours.
Laurel Hardware, 7984 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood. 310-656-6070.