Laurel Hardware Restaurant | Los Angeles

Eating with Mario Alberto at Laurel Hardware

Laurel Hardware no longer trades in nails, tools and lumber, even if the sign above the entrance still intimates it does.

Contractors and home-improvement types have made way for the beautiful people of West Hollywood, who seem smitten with the expansive restaurant. Patrons drift from snacking on pizza at stools with a kitchen view to sipping glasses of Martian Vineyard's Grenache rosé at the bar in the back. And the restaurant continues to unfurl: There's a section of deep-set booths behind the bar, followed by a demurely lit backyard, the lights strung in the branches of two gnarled olive trees.

Mario Alberto, who did wonders at the short-lived Chimú, is the chef here, and although he has left that restaurant's Peruvian flavors far behind, there are some Chimú echoes. Pork belly is again served over barley ($14), with lovage oil subbing for huacatay sauce.  

Don't bother with the petite filet, the most expensive dish on the menu at $26. The more vegetable-intensive dishes, like a salad ($10) with a coarse sunflower-seed vinaigrette, or pizza with dandelion greens and fennel pollen ($16), are the best eating.

Laurel Hardware, 7984 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-656-6070 or