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plan check on sawtelle is now open!

I went with a friend to the opening night of plan check yesterday, on sawtelle.

when you first get there, they pull out a big stamp and stamp your menu with their cocktail list... but then as my friend and i noticed, the same cocktails were listed on their actual menu, so im not sure why they need to re-stamp it (there were no differences). it was cute, i guess.

i was excited to see that they had hitachino belgian white ale on draft, but unfortunately the tap wasn't working on that one - but they let me try the firestone double barrel ale, which i liked, so i got. my friend got the golden road hefeweizen which was great. after my double barrel ale, i talked to them a little bit about their whiskeys, and the manager was nice enough to come out and talk to me about the different japanese whiskeys they have. right now, they have two 12 years and one 18 years, and the one he recommended to me was the hakushu 12 year and it was really delicious and smooth.

for food, we started out with some small snacks -

1. mixed pickles - delicious! vinegary and tart, with good texture. there was an assortment of veggies - turnips, tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, okra, cucumbers, and cauliflower. definitely yummy.

2. beer nuts - these were a little disappointing, they were covered in a sweet-salty glaze which would have been good if they hadn't made the nuts so chewy and not crunchy or crispy. there was more dried seaweed than wasabi flavor. they also would have been better if warm or something. they were served in a tiny cast-iron cup that made us think they would be warm (but they were not).

3. french fries - these were appropriately crispy though a smaller portion for $5 - they make their own ketchup, which tastes sweeter and less tangy than normal ketchup, but still good. they also gave us some house-made mayo which they served with a little cup of mixed salt and pepper. having that salt and pepper was pretty fun.

4. blueprint burger - this burger has smoked blue cheese, "pig candy," and homemade steak sauce, along with fried onions. the pig candy was absolutely delicious, it was a glazed sweet bacon that was chewy and yummy - and the steal sauce was good. the blue cheese was also delicious. my two gripes were this strange bun, which looked like it had panko crumbs coated on the outside of it - and also that i asked for the burger medium rare, but it was medium well. it was still really good.

5. chefs favorite burger - this burger has bacon two ways, cheese two ways (one of which looks like a parmesan fritto), fried egg, hot sauce. my friend had this one, and though she had wanted it medium well, hers was the one that came out medium rare, but she still loved it. i had a bite and thought it tasted great.

we ended up getting yogurtland down the street for dessert, so i cant comment on any of those. the place looked like it was plenty busy, but the servers were nice and when i asked questions (ie about the beers and the whiskey) they were awesome about getting answers. im really psyched that another bar has opened up in the area and the food is actually pretty decent. the outdoor seating area was cute and had plenty of heat lamps for california nights. im looking forward to trying some of the other things on their menu - a fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese, and the short rib pot roast with bone marrow turnover, among others!

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  1. I can also highly recommend the Pastrami Nosh, served with kimchi mustard and a fried egg. Delicious, thick pieces of pastrami--though I think I would prefer it without the egg. Too full for the crullers (3 to an order) but they looked really good. Service was excellent despite the crowd, with my server catching an error in the order as soon as the runner placed it in front of me, and having the meal refired. Looking forward to returning and trying more of the menu.

    10 Replies
    1. re: New Trial

      I thought the Plan Check burger was delicious. Fries were just O.K., would not order them again. . Place was packed at lunch. This restaurant is definitely going to make it.. Apparently, they are already doing a big, big bar business at night.

      1. re: New Trial

        Dropped but yesterday at slack tide (3PM) and walked in no prob. We tried two different pickled cucs, egg in pickle juice, Plan Check burger, Pastrami Nosh, fries, yuzu soda, Golden Road hefe, and the Rocky Road ice cream bar. We found everything enjoyable, particularly the Pastrami Nosh. The thick-cut slabs of smokey peppery pastrami are excellent. I'd like to try their pastrami in a simpler sandwich to better appreciate the flavors - the pepper notes are very strong, which may or may not work for some.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          "The thick-cut slabs of smokey peppery pastrami are excellent. I'd like to try their pastrami in a simpler sandwich to better appreciate the flavors - the pepper notes are very strong, which may or may not work for some."

          For me the yolk from the egg really helps to smooth out those pepper notes and gives the overall taste a much more balanced and interesting flavor.

          1. re: Servorg

            I flipped the bun/egg over before eating it - without asking. Hope I didn't show any disrespect to the chef. :) What did you think of their pastrami in general?

              1. re: Servorg

                I think Plan Check can create a spin-off just based on the pastrami.

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  Agree, Everything I've had here has been very enjoyable. Love the Pastrami Nosh and the pastrami pountine .

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    >>...and the pastrami pountine .<<

                    That I did not have. It must have been wondrous. I was surprised how good service was as well. Much of the staff was on lunch break when we arrived, but the remaining crew kept covering each other - it was seamless.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      "It must have been wondrous"

                      It was indeed.

          2. re: bulavinaka

            They will gladly omit the egg from the pastrami nosh upon request.

        2. I was a biiig fan of their boneless fried chicken.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SauceSupreme

            I had a chance to visit this weekend, and if the boneless fried chicken is the same is in the southern fry sandwich, i definitely agree. I absolutely loved the fried chicken sandwich, was a huge highlight of my visit. I also shared the pot roast with bone marrow turnover with my date and we enjoyed it.

            The menu has some creative and flavorful offering. I'm trying to eat healthier these days but it was so hard to resist. I think the only downside was service, which I guess could be expected. The wait staff seemed overwhelmed and we were hearing other tables talk bout the kitchen being out of certain items. I'd come back, but maybe after the initial rush dies down.

          2. Went for lunch and boy do I like this place. We had the pastrami nosh sandwich with egg, really thick cut pastrami that was so tender and good, you have to eat it with a knife and fork. The Southern Fry chicken sandwich was so moist and tasty with a little kick form the pimento cheese. Also a very nice plum infused ice tea. The fries in beef tallow were a little disappointing and on the mushy side. The Cruller Donuts are a must, cooked to order and not too sweet service with banana cream on the side. Really nice service, very friendly. This is a welcome restaurant to this area and I am sure I will be back many many times to come. Highly recommended. http://www.plancheckbar.com/

            5 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              What time were you there and how was the crowd?

              1. re: Servorg

                Went around 2pm Wednesday. It was busy but no wait.

              2. re: wienermobile

                I just wanted to second your thoughts, I loved the pastrami sandwich and the Japanese whisky. The fries were tasty, but could have been way better with russets. I don't know why chef's insist on using kennebec potatoes for FF's? They just never retain their crunch. It's a lot of work to make mediocre fries.

                It's a good place to go for a craft beer or cocktail (or two) and soak it up with food that goes well with drinks. I went at 8pm on a Saturday with a party of 4 and waited about 10-15 minutes, not too bad. On a completely unrelated note: what's the deal with Karaoke Blue? that is one odd place, I love the very serious security on a mostly empty bar!?

                1. re: AAQjr

                  How's their selection of Japanese scotch?

                  On a totally different note: I understand Karaoke Bleu is popular with Japanese celebs when they're in town. Security is aimed at thwarting unwanted paparazzo for various Asian media markets.

                  1. re: J.L.

                    Really? wow.. I never would have guessed!

                    I had the Hibiki 12yr which was really nice. They don't have a big selection, but some okay whisky's

              3. Agree that the fried chicken and Chef's Favorite Burger are outstanding and that the fries are just ok. My friends had the mushrooms and oysters and raved about both of them, but they thought the rock fish was not very flavorful. The shortrib and crab dip were good but not great for me and the donuts were pretty fantastic. The Ronin cocktail was delicious.

                1. Had a most amazing special at Plan Check tonight "Pastrami Poutine" fries+pastrami+pickles+ pastrami gravy+ melted swiss cheese. $7. More please.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Does that "More please" also refer to Lipitor? ;-D> It sounds wonderful. We will be going soon. I've just been a little leery of the crowds. What time have you been and what has the wait time been like? I do hate crowds so normally give things a chance to die down a little. Maybe we will try and go on a late Sunday afternoon for an early dinner.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Last night went around 5:30, busy but no wait. They said the dinner crowd hits around 7pm...and I will have both more Poutine and a side of Lipitor please.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        I was there last night for the first time in a group of 4 around 730pm and there wasn't much wait for patio seating. Split the fried chicken sandwich and the Plan Check Burger. I preferred the fried chicken; super crisp and juicy. I was very tempted by the Pastrami Poutine...

                      2. re: Servorg

                        And I don't know how different if at all the lunch menu is from dinner, but I went a few Sunday's ago around 12:30-1pm and there tables aplenty.

                        1. re: baloney

                          Thanks for the info. Sounds like the way we may go to try them out.

                    2. This was my first visit to Plan Check, and I really enjoyed the food and service. I got there around 4:30 and found a great place to park - just a few steps away from the restaurant and no meters. The place wasn't too crowded, but since I was alone, I sat at the bar. First impressions - a big smile from the hostess and immediate attention from the bartender/mixologist - Rachel. Started out with the Godzilla, a sweet drink made with Midori - very tasty. Also started off with some Beer Nuts, Pickled Chorizo, and the Baked Crab Dip. The Beer Nuts were delicious, both salty and sweet. The General Manager, Richard, recommended a beer with those, but I was enjoying my Godzilla. I LOVE Chorizo, and the Pickled Chorizo was fantastic. Never had it before. It came already sliced with that chorizo flavor I crave. The Baked Crab Dip was also very good - lots of crab with a dynamite sauce on top served with toast. Okay, now for the highlight and probably one of the best sandwiches I ever had - the Pastrami Nosh. This was incredible - smoky pastrami with cheese and pickles served between two pieces of thinly sliced toasted bread with a fried egg on top. I couldn't pick it up, but who cares. I enjoyed eating it with a fork and knife. Also had some of their Fresh Cut Fries which were very nice and cripsy served with some of their homemade ketchup. Now, while I'm eating all this, I'm also entertaining myself with more cocktails from Rachel - The Little Osaka Sour made with bourbon and The High and Low made with Rum. They both went down nice and easy. And to top everything off, I had the Crullers - 3 crispy on the outside/fluffy on the inside cinnamon tasting donuts. And the perfect companion - some French Press. Overall, it's like the owner went inside my brain, found all my favorite food items, and created a restaurant. And the kitchen and bar executes it like the masters they are. Can't wait to go back. Who's with me on this?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: omakase

                        Thanks for reporting back! I concur that Plan Check is a very welcome addition to an already action-packed Sawtelle area.

                        Also agree: 4:30PM-5PM is the magical time to show up.

                        1. re: J.L.

                          J.L., this place is awesome. I live in the San Fernando Valley, but I'll be back. So much more to try. If you want to recommend anything, please do - even the cocktails and beer.

                      2. Had the Smokey Fried Chicken Plate tonight and it was some of the best Fried Chicken I've ever had and it's only $13! I love Plan Check.

                        1. Service (server: Ryler? Yah, I'm calling you by name, you obnoxious, unservicing, condescending, righteous tool) was probably the worst I've experienced in LA so far in '12.

                          It was a weekend evening, after the dinner rush, nowhere near last call. Restaurant was humming along, but the buzz seemed to have cooled.

                          This dude clearly hated everyone in his section. He effed up checks, forgot to return for drink orders, didn't request busser to minimally provide silverware/water, and just copped major 'tude, then passed the blame when confronted. A neighboring table also ended up hating him. No apologies from the server, no compensatory action on the bill, no nothing. ~$55 for 2 drinks/3 apps later, we were a furious table.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: TonyC

                            Love it. CH street justice! I've only stiffed twice, ever (both times when I was living in NYC). Hope you did that here.

                            Execrable service deserves unflinching action.

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              Always thought CH can carry more Yelp angst. And also be more of a dating site.

                              No, we took the moral/passive aggressive high road of tipping 20%+.