Is It Any Good?

The original location (?) of the local high-end Burger chain in Sawtelle Japantown.

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The simple truth of the matter is I like Plan + Check. I like their burgers…as in a lot. This is the only local chain that comes close to rivaling Umami, and actually…may be in line to surpass it.

That’s nothing on you, Umami folks. You still make a damn fine Burger. But damn…are you planning on being Starbucks in a few years? Do you have to be everywhere?

And then there’s the history between the two. Let me quote…well…me, about that:

Then, there’s the matter of history. From what I heard, one of the original masterminds behind Umami fell out of favor a while ago, and when he left, he formed this place: Plan Check.


Now, what exactly is Plan Check, I mean, what does it mean as a term in reference to the restaurant? I’m…not…sure, but the menus and the whole graphic theme seemed to be set around Compasses and Checklists.




That’s not going to matter. You’re here for a Burger, and a Burger you shall have, and be most happy with.

That’s very true.

So, from what I understand, this is the original location of the Plan + Check brainchild. This location is far, far more cozier than the Fairfax Location. Cozy, but maneuverable. When I can, me and a pal at the Chef’s Station, overlooking the crews work.

The Kitchen Staff, hard at work, at Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown.

Man, they did not stop moving whole time we were there.

Bourdain is soooo right. I am too old to work in a restaurant.

But unlike the Fairfax location, the Sawtelle location didn’t have any of the Westside sneer too many places have. The folks here were happy to see us from jump, and looking to make sure we were happy, comfortable and well-lubricated from jump. The Waitstaff were fantastic. Yes, gorgeous as all get out, but attentive, concerned, and looking out for their customers at all angles. Fantastic.

The only trick is the parking.

We’ll get to that in a second.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Even though I was in the mood for a Burger, I couldn’t resist the charms of their version of a Fried Chicken Sandwich, the Southern Fry.

The Southern Fry sandwich at Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown.

The Southern Fry sandwich at Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown.

The Southern Fry is smokey Fried Jidori Chicken (succulent), spicy Green Pimento cheese (awesome), Duck Breast Ham (whose flavor you will taste separate and apart from the Chicken, and it’s soooo good), and of course pickled veggies, onions, cucumbers.

Wonderful. Great sandwich. Many, many layers of flavor. Some structural integrity issues, it’s hard not to start and keep working at it to keep it all together.

Of course, you might feel the need to unhinge your jaw to get it all in there. Good luck, my child.

My original visit to the Fairfax location had us starting with the Cured and Preserved Meats plate. It’s five six dollars a shot, so don’t expect a cornucopia of meats. Expect instead, a small plate of one item, unless you got it going on. I went with Soppressata Piccante (Berkshire pork), which was a nice foundation from which to start in on Cocktails and Beer afterwards. It comes with a Miso Mustard, which was good and all, but tasted a lot like straight ahead Dijon Mustard to me.

I didn’t mind one dang bit, of course.

After that, I went for the Chef’s Favorite Burger.  I’m a total suck up that way.  The Chef’s Favorite comes with cheese two ways, bacon two ways, ketchup leather, sunny fried egg, hot sauce. I’m not sure what cheese two ways means, nor bacon two ways.

The Fries at Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown, served with Fresh Ketchup.

Now originally, my question was:

And just what the hell is Ketchup Leather, I still have no idea.

I finally found out. Plan + Check makes it’s own Ketchup in it’s own unique way. They make it, cut it into sheets, separated by Wax paper (this is what you see when you sit at the Chef’s Station). They peel it off, slap it on the Burger, and let the heat of meat melt it down.

So anyway, the Chef’s Favorite reminded me (in a good way) of two burgers I’m quite fond of: The Manly Burger, both seem to have a caramelized cracker made of pure melted cheese, and the Morning After Burger at Stout, with it’s fried egg on Sriracha Ketchup. Both had just enough of a kick to make my day. I’m also told that the Blueprint Burger puts one in a happy place.

The fries were good, in not extraordinary. Still, I’d have them again in a second.

And the cocktails were good. I got the Kentucky Bubble Bath which was a bit too bitter for me, so know that going in. Mine came with Rye, Cynar, Lemon, Agave Syrup, and Lavender Water, but the new menu calls for Buffalo Trace Whiskey. I saw a few House Old Fashioned’s getting made, and from what I heard, that was the cocktail to get.

The Slow and Low Rye that's served at Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Remember, me telling you how cozy this place was? Well, remember that when you get here. You’re probably going to have to wait at least a little bit.

Open the door, and step to the Hostess station to the left. Sign in with your party, and tell ‘em where you’re going to wait. They’ll come find you.



This is still freakin’ Sawtelle Japantown, and Parking is going to be tricky. Street Parking will he hard to find, though me and my bud got stinkin’ lucky, and parked right along Sawtelle. The only thing I can think of is parking in toward the residential part of the neighborhood, if you can’t park on Sawtelle.

There was a Curbstand Valet Stand out in front of the restaurant, so maybe they do the Valet thing. We were there at 7pm on a Saturday, and no one was there. Maybe the get there late.

The Plan + Check, Sawtelle Japantown.

Plan + Check (Sawtelle Japantown)
1800 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Tel: (310) 444-1411

Monday-Wednesday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Sunday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm