If you think Plan Check is just your average spot for after-hours burgers and brews, think again. This LA powerhouse loves a collab, and they do it well. From this month through December, the restaurant is hosting a series of pop-up dinners by acclaimed Chefs from all over the country. Created by owner/founder Terry Heller in collaboration with travel and food tastemaker Andy Wang and web-based dining guide, Table8, the series officially kicked off on September 6th. Recently, we enjoyed the seafood-focused guest menu by Chef Jamie DeRosa of South Beach's Izzy's Fish and Oyster, leaving us excited and optimistic about what else is to come.
Included in the prix-fixe dinner menu was a cocktail, aptly named "The Good Stuff." As a lover of anything gin, ginger, and yuzu, I was immediately a fan, and enjoyed the added blueberry for just a bit more fruitiness. The yuzu was definitely the star here, keeping the drink light, refreshing, and plenty citrus-y.
Though it's still a bit warm, I do love a good Vichyssoise come winter. The soup takes me back to my semester in London, when my British cousins would send me back to my flat with bowls of it whenever I was in need of a good bit of comfort. Chef DeRosa's take did not disappoint, and the broth was a lovely fish-centric take on the leek-y, potato-y concoction. I really enjoyed the addition of the marinated clam in the soup, giving it even more hardiness, though I felt that summer squash was maybe a bit too much (that's most likely because I'm not a huge squash person). A really nice start to the meal.
Seemingly less refined than the other offerings (but no less desired), the "Surfin' Roll" was surprisingly subtle. While the roll itself was a toasty, fluffy, and a bit greasy (in the best and most necessary way), the shrimp was layered with hearty bites of garlic, acidic pops of orange, and pickled carrot for good measure. The whole effect was quite satisfying and tasty, without feeling overly rich or heavy. Definitely addicting.
Seared Maine Diver Scallops were a lovely way to cap off the savory portion of the meal; seared really nicely on the outside and cooked perfectly overall, they were great with the sprinkle of parmesan and just enough brown butter sauce. The burnt romaine wasn't entirely necessary, but added a nice crunchy textural element. I'm a huge sucker for scallops, and these were really nice.
To finish off, a Key Lemon Parfait added the perfect exclamation point to the meal. The lemon parfait itself was light and tangy, while the slightly sweet, slightly bitter Riesling-marinated fruit balanced nicely with the rich and creamy honey and goat cheese whipped cream. Hazelnut strudel provided the perfect bit of crunch to offset all the creaminess.
Overall, the meal was a really nice counterpoint to Plan Check's typically rich, hearty food (which is fantastic, don't get me wrong); the menu, while tasty and satisfying, demonstrated a lightness and freshness that kept it from feeling too indulgent. The dishes were well-balanced and I really enjoyed the variety of seafood preparations. So if you're looking for a fun, food-centric event over the next few months, I highly recommend checking out any one of Plan Check's upcoming Comfort Masters Guest Chef dinners.