Mimi ON Dec 03, 2012 AT 12:07 pm
by Chrissy Iley
When I first moved to West Hollywood there were certain stores on Santa Monica Boulevard that were straight out of the 1950s. They were homespun, cute.
When I was renovating, one of the stores I visited most was Laurel Hardware. It was the local place to buy hammers, nails, screws, all kinds of appliances necessary for a total house makeover. I took paint swatches there and walked home with the paint. No endless driving to a terrifying place called Home Depot which made me cough because it was filled with building dust.
When it closed down I was sad. It reopened as a restaurant of the same name with the same old Hollywood neon sign. For months not even news of their winter mojito – made with mint and coconut milk – would get me in there.
Then, when it became a trend force to be reckoned with I decided I might have to let my stubbornness. It’s impossible to get a table and people usually line up, which is why I went early and on a Monday so as not to antagonise myself.
Inside it’s all stripped wood, open kitchen, surfaces are polished and the lighting is quirky. There are tables at the front, a giant bar and lounge area at the back and outside space too. It has kept the vibe where you think you could be looking at a display of door hinges.
Their menu is small plates designed for sharing. We had seared apples and dates with pine nuts spinach and cave aged blue cheese ($9). It was warm, wintry, curiously aromatic and addictive. It was billed as a snack but it was quite sizeable and delicious enough for me not to wonder just exactly how cheese is aged in a cave.
We also had baby kale and tatsoi salad with quinoa, feta and sunflower seed vinaigrette ($10), which was flavourful and subtle.
The chef is Mario Alberto who has cooked at Freddie Small’s and Chimu, a downtown Peruvian restaurant. He has an edge and an eye for a trend. We finished off with a pizza of eggplant, summer squash, burrata and thyme ($15). It was thin crusted and the burrata creamy and edged up by the thyme.
Their ranch burger of hormone free beef looked very popular as did roast Jidori chicken. There were plenty of vegetable dishes to choose from so vegetarians would be very happy here.
The cocktail menu is what made its name in the summer when it first opened. We tried a Gangster – Rain Organics Cucumber Lime vodka and fresh juice watermelon and lime – which was extremely perky and tasty. Then we moved on to the Rosie – green tea infused Ketel One Citroen, rose, lemon and soda. And their take on a margarita – Gavrons Boogle – fresh cucumber infused Herradura Blanco, lime, chilli and salt rim. They were decadent and delicious and unstoppable.
Laurel Hardware, 7984 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046, (323) 656-6070 www.laurelhardware.com