For some reason, I keep forgetting about this post (unlike the case with Urasawa, which I’m purposely avoiding due to self-doubt). I went to Plan Check in late March for an early dinner with Greg and Jen. I had already heard pretty good things from Eugenia, who went to the soft opening. Great location? Check. Great hours? Check. Chef with good resume (former Umami corporate chef)? Check. Fun menu? Check. Good drinks? Check. Opened with considerable hype? Plan check it.
Started with a couple of starters and fries. The baked crab dip was a nice play on the dynamite. The mini toasts were a bit stale though. The stuffed mushrooms were pretty good as well. The fries, however, were limp and lifeless (but the PDA-heavy couple seemed to enjoy them). I really wanted to order the fried chicken as well, but they were out/unavailable at that time. For drinks, I went non-alcoholic with a yuzu soda. Tart and refreshing, without being too sweet.
Okay, enough foreplay. How are the burgers? Well, fairly similar to Umami’s actually (but I think they were bigger – although that’s not very hard to do). The three of us split the three main varieties they had on the menu: The Plan Check, the Bleuprint, and the Chef’s Favorite. The patties for each had a nice beefy flavor, though they lacked some juiciness. Despite the lack of juiciness, however, the burgers were still a bit heavy-handed with the salt and grease. Definitely not “clean” burgers, but still quite tasty. The Portuguese milk buns were nice vessels, though the supposed “crunch” factor was minimal.
If I had to choose, the Chef’s Favorite would be my favorite of the threesome. Just a nice combination of manly components. The PCB was more of your standard variety, and the bleu cheese was surprisingly mild in the Bleuprint, rendering it somewhat similar to the PCB. One note: the couple insisted the burgers cooked rare. I’m not really sure why. Steaks I understand, but with burgers, due to the meat blend and the natural fattiness of the grind, medium rare would’ve been the optimal way to go. Probably didn’t make too much of a difference for my judgment, although the lack of juiciness from the patties was most likely from this.
Despite some flaws (which could’ve been attributed to our end), our meal at Plan Check was still good. I just didn’t think it was great, and I doubt my opinions would change even if the juiciness issue was solved. I will be back for sure, due to the proximity (I live within walking distance), and look forward to trying the fried chicken and the pastrami nosh. A bit too much hype in the end, but still a more-than-welcome addition to the growing collection of restaurants on Sawtelle.
By the way: the “donuts” (more like churros) were really good.
Baked Crab Dip – dynamite sauce, masago, charred tomato, nori, toast ($12)
Stuffed Mushroom – roasted portobello, swiss cheese fondue, crispy kale, steak sauce ($8)
Fresh Cut Fries – skin on kennebecs, beef tallow, smoked salt, fresh ketchup ($5)
PCB (plan check burger) – akaushi red wagyu beef, americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun ($10)
Bleuprint Burger – smoked blue cheese, pig candy, fried onions, steak sauce, peppercress ($11)
Chefs Favorite Burger – cheese two ways, bacon two ways, ketchup leather, sunny fried egg, hot sauce ($12)
Cruller Donuts – cooked to order, cream, fruit ($6)
Chris Hei grade: B
Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
1800 Sawtelle Blvd
West Los Angeles, CA 90025