Ketchup: a (long) review
Just went to Ketchup (the newest spawn of the hit-and-miss Dolce Group) for a friend’s birthday dinner, and here’s my take on it.
The food (most important!) for a party of 4 voracious girls--
-Onion ring tower ($11), accompanied by 5 different ketchups: regular, chipotle, maple, ranch, and mango. The onion rings were nice and crispy, and well-seasoned with parmesan and garlic. The chipotle ketchup definitely stood out… I needed a few more servings with the rest of my meal. The ranch ketchup was not that great, and the others were passable, but not fantastic.
-Sweet potato fries ($9): good, if you like soggy-ish fries. Also came accompanied by the 5 ketchups.
-“In the Raw” salad, a.k.a. tuna tartare ($14): served with tomato and avocado in a soy sauce mixture, served with basil potato chips. The plate itself was good; the chiffonade-ed basil on top really did the trick.
-Kobe sliders ($17): PASS! The meat was totally dry and the meat to bread ratio was WAY off—too much bread for the tiny amount of meat. I could barely choke that thing down, even after I smothered it in chipotle ketchup
-Momma’s meat loaf ($20): also pass. WAY too salty, although the texture of the meat loaf was OK. Accompanying veggies were also way oversalted and the mashed potatoes were unimpressive. The mushroom gravy could’ve been good if, again, they eased up on the salt.
-Mac and cheese with Dungeness crab (side dish, $12): EXCELLENT. One of the best mac and cheese dishes I’ve had and, believe me, I love mac and cheese. It was so good that I suggested to the owner to have this as a main entrée.
-Dessert: none ordered. The dessert menu didn’t seem too enticing, and this is saying a lot considering we weren’t completely full after our meal.
They give out (free!) tastes of the day’s featured martinis. The sommelier/drink specialist she called herself roams around with a cart, offering samples and making drinks for diners. The special that day was the Monarchy, which had vodka, Kool-Aid, and some other stuff. Tasted good, but I opted for “Summer Lovin’” which was a pseudo-martini and tasted very grapefruity and had a splash of champagne. Don’t remember what exactly was in it, but would recommend it if you’re into sweet drinks.
Our waiter was adorable and very nice. He came by our table often, checked up on us. In general, the waitstaff seemed very concerned with whether or not we liked the food. One of the owners came by and asked us for our honest opinion re: the food. I basically told him everything that I’ve written above. Ixnay on the meatloaf and bring on the mac and cheese!
Nice interior design, although a bit too red for me. The entire room is tinted pink or red (coming from the red lights—the walls, tables, and seats themselves are white). And there are tomato centerpieces on the tables. Maybe a bit much… Pretty loud and lively; very spacious booths. A loud, relaxed vibe. A bit too “Hollywood” for my taste.
WAY overpriced for what it is (typical comfort food). I'm sure they're still working out the kinks, since they've been open for less than 2 weeks. Might be good for out-of-town guests who are looking for something “Hollywood.” Probably a good place to people-watch. It was worth the try, but I wouldn’t pay $8 for a glass of Yoohoo and a chocolate cookie (on their dessert menu). Being that the restaurant’s name is Ketchup, they could be a lot more creative with that good ol’ American condiment.
8590 Sunset Blvd. (Just west of La Cienega)
West Hollywood, 90069
I went about a week after they opened. First of all, lots of beautiful people, but it wasn't all that full. We asked if we could sit for a while in lounge for a drink, but they came and got us after 10 minutes to seat us. For a party of 5, we had a large booth. The lighting is a bit annoying but beyond that interior is pretty slick. We tried ordering the onion rings but they didn't have them. The potato skins were extremely bland, just not worth ordering. We had an order of the sliders which were pretty dry. I agree, the meatloaf was waaay too salty, and I love salt. I really liked the mac and cheese, but they can't serve it without crab if that bothers you. We told the manager they might want to think of it having it either way. The fries were pretty good but they kept forgetting the ketchup... strange. I thought the chipotle was the best overall but the mango ketchup didn't even taste like ketchup at all. The orders of fries were pretty big and would serve a few people. I agree that it is pretty expensive over all. There are some kinks to get worked out, as in every restaurant just opening. It would be fun place if you had out of town guests to entertain. There's also a review now in the LA TImes.
Went for a birthday party last Saturday with a group of girls. All of my friends ordered salads which came in HUGE bowls, they could have easily split one between two people. They were all good, nothing to rave about. I had the shake n'bake chicken (actually pistachio crusted chicken) at the recommendation of the cheeseball "part-owner" that came over to our table two or three times (think he was trying to spy on Joey Fatone). It was decent, but the sauce they had drizzled all over it was a bit too sweet for my taste. We all shared the triple-frie appetizer. They were all tasty (my favorite were the spicy shoestring ones) but as the above poster mentioned, a bit soggy. Kobe beef sliders were random - would not order these again as I like my hot dogs down and dirty. For dessert we shared the ice cream sandwich and the banana split- pretty standard dessert, nothing to write home about.
Highlight of the dinner was sitting in the booth across from Joe Fatone's table and watching the skanky dancer from Dancing with the Stars enter the restaurant to join Joey with her boytoy.
Like Dolce Group's other establishments (Dolce, Geisha House) -- going there is definitely more about the scene than it is the food.
Thanks for the review, this place has gotten quite a buzz for their glammed up diner fare -- wasn't sure how hyped up that was.