We here at the BEAT are huge fans of Umami Burger, so when news came that a new restaurant was coming from former corporate executive chef of Umami, Ernesto Uchimura, we knew we had to try it.
And indeed, there was little disappointment to be had. Situated on the westside, in the enclave off of Pico and Sawtelle otherwise known as Little Osaka, Plan Check Kitchen + Bar aims at being a friendly "neighborhood restaurant." So far, with a cozy decor inspired by architects and engineers (our table even had a tiny jar filled with metal screws), and a nice small patio out front, they're working toward their goal very well.
Plan Check describes their servings as American "small plates," but with a little bit of sharing of sides, you'll easily get your fill. The Blueprint Burger, with its blue cheese and candied bacon, was my favorite item of the night -- not surprising, considering the Umami background. Pair it with the veggie chips, which come in a fun paper bag and include sweet potato and taro. The Smokey Fried Chicken was pleasant (though I would have loved a little spicy kick in there somewhere) and the yam preserves that came with was sweet but refreshingly bright. Definitely, definitely end your meal with the Cruller donuts -- perfectly crispy and soft at the same time, and plated with delectable bananas and cream.The drinks list was fun as well -- I was intrigued by the possibility of Hitachino white ale on tap, but was swayed by the neighborhoody Little Osaka Sour, and thankfully so. Just enough sweetness, just enough bourbon kick. The Spaghetti Western is an exciting (read: spicy!) try for Bloody Mary fans, while the Tropic Thunder plays well with a jalapeno infused vodka. It's clear Plan Check isn't afraid to get adventurous in the cocktail department -- so neither should you.
And so, a little bit of reliability paired with a little bit of adventure -- sure sounds like a great addition to the neighborhood.
Plan Check Kitchen + Bar officially opened last week and is located at 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. in West L.A.
-- Chau Tu
Photo credit: the BEAT