The New Old-Fashioned

The Mercantile brings a touch of home to Hollywood

While the burger-and-beer bar onslaught continues to overtake Hollywood, the time is just right for something like The Mercantile to open. Equal parts gourmet market, deli and unassuming wine bar, it's exactly what the neighborhood needs.

With pretty floral wallpaper and tall shelves stocked with artisanal jams, chocolates and condiments, the place has a sunnier disposition than any of owner George Abou-Daoud's other nearby spots (Bowery, Delancey, Mission Cantina).

And with former Blue Velvet chef Kris Morningstar in the kitchen, the food has taken a more serious route, too, via clever twists on American and French classics.

At lunch, instead of tuna salad, there's house-smoked trout rillettes topped with pretty pickled beets (pictured, $9). Tender braised flank steak in tangy caraway-seed barbecue sauce makes for a messy Sloppy Jo ($10.50). Even peanut butter and jelly gets upstaged by pumpkinseed butter and grape jam–both made in-house–on rustic Breadbar bread ($9).

When things switch to wine-bar mode at night, it's the perfect date spot before or after a movie at the Arclight. Who knew sharing a carafe of crisp Sancerre and creamy tuna noodle casserole ($16) or chicken potpie ($15) could be so romantic?

Finish with one of the best canelés in town, or a scoop of homemade caramel popcorn ice cream, and date number two will be a shoo-in.

The Mercantile, 6600 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; 323-962-8202 or themercantilela.com