TO MEET · 02/14/2013
Plan Check with Chef Ernesto Uchimura
We love a good burger as much as the next person, but even the best of patty and cheese can be ruined with a soggy bun, especially one saturated with ketchup. Chef Ernesto Uchimura of Plan Check felt just the same way when developing the restaurant’s menu. The solution? Ketchup leather.
Do you remember the fruit leather you used to eat in elementary school, either the wholesome organic kind or the multi-colored overly sweet version? Ernesto’s creation is just the same in consistency, but is created by dehydrating his house-made ketchup. It really feels like you’re eating a fruit roll-up, but it tastes like it’s been poured from a bottle of classic Heinz.
As your burger sits after assembly (Ernesto cooked us their classic “PCB Burger”), the ketchup leather melts into it, saturating it with flavor but not soaking the bun.
Plan Check serves modern American comfort food, but with a twist (ketchup leather being one of them). As a former opening chef at Umami, Ernesto wanted the burger to be the mainstay on the menu. All burgers include a little something offbeat and are entirely customizable.
The restaurant is located in an area known as West Los Angeles, not far from Culver City where Ernesto grew up. Although many people had hesitations about the location not too far from a major freeway exit, it’s proved to be conveniently located and brings an alternative food option to the neighborhood, whose streets are mainly dotted with Japanese restaurants.
Four to six specials are added to the menu each day, often spin-offs of the existing comfort food items. You’ll frequently find bacon included, which is lamb bacon made in-house by Ernesto.
To top things off, you should order the donuts for dessert—they’re light, crispy and coated with cinnamon and sugar much like twisted churros.
Ernesto is wearing the Beckett in Striped Chestnut.
Photos by Collin Hughes