Gentrification has been moving west down Wilshire from the revitalized Downtown of Cedd Moses and LA Live. Kitty-corner from a Starbucks populated by men in suits, Plan Check opened its third outpost last October just west of the 110. Catering to the local business people, Plan Check has developed its first Happy Hour menu. The Sawtelle and Fairfax locations offer drink specials, but food specials are exclusively at the Wilshire location. The Happy Hour runs from 4pm-7pm and offers everything from Wasabi Beer Nuts to its giant Jidori chicken sandwich.
The design of the restaurant is clean and modern, with lots of wood and steel. High ceilings and a large open patio allow the welcome breezes to keep the oppressive downtown heat at bay. There is bar seating, comfortable booths, tables, and a back room for larger parties. It is a classier, more grown-up Plan Check. Even though the location is right in the thick of things, there was ample street parking.
We were invited to check out the menu, and started with the mixed Mixed Pickle Plate ($4). It has a kick, so it’s best if you enjoy spicy food. The beautiful plate held Kombu, cucumber dill pickles, Spicy cucumber sriracha pickles, an Egg in pickle juice, Jalapeno Escabeche with carrot, cauliflower, and my favorite – Pickled chorizo sausage. A great dish for sharing, and the perfect drunk food are the Beast Fries ($6.66). Crispy fries are topped with onions cooked in chicken fat (schmaltz), bacon spread, and their own house made Americanized cheese. I did not expect to be impressed with the stuffed Portobello mushroom ($5.00), but it was the most pleasant surprise of the evening. The mushroom is stuffed with a tangy Swiss cheese fondue, crispy kale, and an intensely umami roasted garlic steak sauce.
For heartier appetites, you can’t go wrong with a Jidori chicken sandwich, a longtime favorite of regulars. This version, the S.F.C. (Smokey Fried Chicken) Sandwich ($9.00) is a take on their dinner of chicken with gravy. The chicken is fried crisp without being greasy, and is topped with yam preserves, smoked milk gravy, and a sweet pickled okra. Another good option is the Pimento Grilled Cheese and Bacon ($8). In site of pimentos, green chile and pickles, the giant fan of bacon was the most intense part of this sandwich.
The bar also has a rotating menu of craft beers, which currently includes Abita’s Purple Haze, Sculpin IPA and Speakeasy Prohibition Red Ale. Plan Check also serves wine, premium Japanese whiskies and single malts, plus specialty cocktails. I tried the Tropic Thunder with Jalapeno-infused Tito’s vodka, mango, lemon juice, and sugar. It was fruity without being sugary and definitely had a kick from the jalapeno. I can see meeting friends here after work, or spending a few hours taking advantage of their free wi-fi as I like to do at the other Plan Check locations. Oh, and don’t worry. They have the donuts.