Plan Check is a breath of fresh air for the LA restaurant scene. It’s one of the few places that actually pulls off the minimalist industrial look, and one of even fewer places where the food is every bit as delicious as the restaurant is ‘hip and trendy’. This is a true LA burger joint, a melting pot that brings together business hot shots, gorgeous women, and hipsters that live with their parents. Why? Because the food here is spectacular and the menu is diverse and affordable. There are no hour-long lines. Plan Check has class, and it has taste. For that, expect to return time and time again.
Plan Check’s Bleuprint burger – Photo used with permission from Wagstaff Worldwide Public Relations
The restaurant’s universal favorites are sure to impress, no surprise given that the kitchen is run by Ernesto Uchimura, who opened Umami Burger. Just look at the fries—cooked in tallow—and the ketchup—made in-house with Worcestershire and lord-knows how many other cool add-ons—to appreciate Plan Check’s attention to detail. The bleuprint burger utilizes smoked bleu cheese, roasted garlic steak sauce and rich bacon [they call it pig candy] for a great spin on the classic order. Straying away from burgers, the smokey fried chicken holds light texture and a memorizing crispiness, served with irresistible smoked milk gravy. Oh, and if you happen to come when the beast fries are on the specials list, get them: if In ‘n’ Out’s animal style fries were a car, then Plan Check’s beast fries would be a Maserati.
Each of Plan check’s locations are chameleon-like in that they adapt their menus to the neighborhood’s native fare. Plan Check Fairfax, for example, integrates components of a Jewish deli across its selections. The result: A pastrami nosh that would make Canter’s proud. Thick-cut pastrami, steak-like in texture but with the same tender character, bodes harmoniously with melted cheese. Plan Check Sawtelle does the same with Asian flare, and the upcoming Plan Check Santa Monica is set to put a seafood spin on its recipes.
Of course the place serves a vast array of craft beers and fancy cocktails. They even have a selection of homemade sodas [get the vanilla creme!]. Dessert isn’t much of a priority here, though you will likely be too sore by the time it comes around anyway—get a booth, as their wood benches/metal chairs are far from comfortable. This said, Plan Check has done an immaculate job of elevating classic American food to another level while keeping the prices casual.
Benjamin Brown, MBA is a seasoned restaurant writer and consultant. Expert in F&B marketing, pricing, analytics, consumer insights and business development. Ben also writes a monthly restaurant business column, "The Bottom Line," in Socal and Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional Magazines.