Years ago, when someone would ask what California was known for in the food world, the answer might have been tacos, and could potentially still be. We have some good Mexican food in Los Angeles, but then there's the general "California Cuisine" label or farm to table fare, not to mention the fabulous pockets of ethnic food all over the city.
Another Los Angeles restaurant staple to add to the list needs to be the burger. I have friends who fly into LA and want their first stop, before even turning their phone on, to be In 'N Out. Those burgers have taken on a life of their own. Then there's Sang Yoon's now famous, no substitute caramelized onion, bacon cheese burger at Father's Office. We also can't leave off the now multi-chain eatery Umami with their signature dish that incorporates savory umami flavor. Could there be room for me? Plan Check thinks so.
Plan Check opened their first restaurant, yes, there's already more than one, almost 3 years ago with one of the corporate chef's from Umami Burger. The indoor-outdoor space is perched on the northern end of Sawtelle Boulevard, near the LA Department of Building and Safety where contractors go to get their, wait for it, plans checked. Clever.
There's name mixologists behind the bar, but also a strong beer menu, because what else goes with burgers? You can go beyond the burger with rib roast, albacore tuna or fried chicken, or you can combine the best of all worlds with a fried chicken sandwich and the original plan check burger.
Not long ago, I tried the jaw breaker that is Son of a Gun's outstanding fried chicken sandwich. I've nearly digested it now so I had room to sample the "Southern Fry," which ups the ante with duck breast ham, spicy green pimento cheese and pickles stacked on an enormous piece of battered chicken. Delicious? Oh yes! A daily staple for dinner? Oh no!
I can see the background of the Umami chef with the dashi cheese on the red wagyu beef burger. It does have that deep, savory taste, but wait, there's more. There's grilled onions (a la In'N Out "Animal Style"), pickles and the piece de resistance is a ketchup leather. The theory is that ordinary ketchup dispensed from a bottle can get the bun soggy, and no one wants a soggy bun. It was a solid burger, full of deep, rich flavor.
The sweet potato waffle fries were as outlined, but they do come with a unique peach ketchup. If you like sweet things, you'll like this sauce, and if not, stick with the leather.
It was not possible to eat dessert after these monster sandwiches, so if you need a finishing bite, I recommend taking a walk down Sawtelle and marveling at all the new restaurants before deciding on dessert. The cuteness of B Sweet drew me in and the bread pudding menu closed the deal. One bite though and I nearly passed out from the richness. Wow. It may have had something to do with the aforementioned food, but it also may just be that they pack in the butter and sugar into these sweet treats. I can only hope that bread pudding doesn't soon become LA's latest food staple.
Plan Check (multiple locations)
1800 Sawtelle Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA