Tag Archives: Los Angeles Gastropub

Little Osaka’s Groovy New Gastropub

What do you get when you pair a former Umami Burger executive chef with a local real estate developer turned restauranteur who takes inspiration from a municipal office charged with overseeing construction? You get Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, a great new gastropub which officially opens today in the Westside’s Japanese restaurant mecca known as Little Osaka. Plan Check is located adjacent to the Department of Building and Safety, which inspired Plan Check’s name and industrial-chic decor. Once you’ve been seated, the hostess carries out the theme further by stamping part of the drink menu onto the paper covering your table, using a large ink stamp like the ones used next door to approve architectural plans.

Besides its unique building plan approval motif, a couple things distinguish Plan Check from most of its neighbors on Sawtelle. First of all, although there is house-made yuzu soda and a dish made with rockshrimp tempura, this isn’t a Japanese restaurant. Plan Check serves elevated versions of traditional American comfort foods like Burgers and Fries, Pot Roast and Fried Chicken with exotic and unusual touches. Their eponymous burger is made with Akaushi Red Wagyu Beef and “Americanized” cheese, served on a crunch bun, and dressed with a strip of ketchup leather (like a fruit roll-up), savory onions and house-made pickles. It’s delicious, as is their “Pastrami Nosh” (pictured above), which has double smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, pickles and is served with a fried egg on top. I also recommend the PC Tots (tater tots stuffed with cheddar and parmesan cheeses), which are served with smoked milk gravy and, upon request, an amazing house-made ketchup.

Another thing that sets Plan Check apart from most of the other eateries in Little Osaka is its cool bar and array of fun and tasty cocktails. You can order a Spaghetti Western (made with Vida Mezcal, Tapatio, Red Bell Pepper, Lime, Agave and Beer), a High & Low (which I assume is named after one of my favorite Akira Kurosawa films and is made with Zaya Rum, Fino Sherry, Cointreau and Grenadine), or one of their house-made sodas spiked with “moonshine.” Plan Check is as much a bar as a restaurant and is a great place to meet friends for drinks on the Westside. Whether you’re there for lunch, dinner or a late-night drink, I highly recommend getting dessert. The Cruller Donuts, which are cooked to order and served with cream and fresh bananas, are not to be missed.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar is located at 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. in West LA.

Warm Crab Dip with dynamite sauce, masago, blistered tomato and toast

Plan Check Burger with Akaushi Red Wagyu Beef, Americanized cheese, ketchup leather, savory onions, mixed pickles and crunch bun

PC Tots with cheddar and parmesan cheeses, served with smoked milk gravy

Cruller Donuts cooked to order with cream and bananas

Banana and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Bar

A cool bar with fun cocktails

A great new addition to Little Osaka

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Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (opens 22 Feb 2012) on Urbanspoon


Filed under West LA

Gastropub Greatness

Gastropubs (bars that serves high quality fresh and seasonal cuisine) are popping up all over LA.  The best Gastropub, and one of my favorite restaurants in the City overall, is Lazy Ox Canteen.  It’s located downtown in Little Tokyo and if you don’t live there, it’s definitely worth the drive.  The atmosphere is dark, boisterous and urban.  Minimal and cozy at the same time.  The bar is stocked with great craft beers and esoteric wines.  The food, which is mostly small plates, is across-the-board excellent and some dishes I would say are perfection.

Like most Gastropubs, Lazy Ox Canteen has a nice selection of gourmet fried foods.  The Pig Ear “Chicharon” (sliced and fried pig ears) with Radish Salad and Yuzu Aioli is a must-have.  The Crispy Surf Clams with Caper and Pickle Aioli, which is seasoned to perfection, is also a dish you want to make sure to order.  The many non-fried items on the menu are equally delicious and inventive.  If available, definitely order the Poblano Soup with Grapes & Crispy Pork Belly and either the Dashi Marinated Yellowtail with Avocado, Hash Brown & Tonburi or Yellowtail Crudo with Szechuan, Mint & Celeriac.  I also love the Caramelized Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Chile Flake & Mint.  The menu (much of which are blackboard specials) changes often so there is always something new to try.  Don’t forget to order their excellent Rice Pudding for dessert.

Lazy Ox Canteen is located at 241 South San Pedro Street in Los Angeles (Downtown/Little Tokyo). UPDATE: Lazy Ox Canteen has unfortunately closed. It will be missed.

Pig Ear "Chicharon"

Yellow Tail Crudo with Szechuan, Mint & Celeriac

They play great music too!

Lazy Ox Canteen on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Downtown