It makes perfect sense that Plan Check owner Terry Heller is eating a cup of matzo ball soup and half a turkey sandwich at Canter's three days before the newest location of his gastropub-style eatery is set to open. Chef Ernesto Uchimura's menu features classic deli ingredients that are treated to novel, cult-worthy techniques (pastrami fries, ketchup leather). It's this perfect marriage of familiar and fun that—along with consistent service and good management—has primed Plan Check for expansion.
The original Plan Check gave Little Osaka's Sawtelle a jolt of Americana mixed with a boisterous gastropub atmosphere. After a year of settling into the neighborhood, rumors of lacy fried chicken, a burger treated to fruit roll-up-like condiments, and classic egg-y, sugared crullers spread across the land. Plan Check was a hit, and, as it turns out, is infinitely scalable.
"We're always looking into the future," Heller says, "I have a lot of ideas, but Plan Check is a concept we want to continue to expand, with the right team in place." Plan Check Downtown is slated to open early next year.
New on the team is bartender-chef Matthew Biancaniello. For the past few years, Biancaniello has popped-up behind bars and translated his particular brand of (mostly bespoke) drink making into something reproducible. Though Biancaniello himself won't be mixing all of the drinks at Plan Check's bars, patrons can go in anytime and order The Last Tango (gin, strawberries, aged balsamic, St. Germain foam), Breeder's Cup (vodka, lime, cucumber, beet horseradish), or the restaurant's new dessert coupe, a combination of candy cap mushroom ice cream, magic, and espresso stout.
The only item on Plan Check Fairfax's menu that's different from what's being served on Sawtelle is the chef's new pastrami salmon. It comes with an eye-opening squid ink cream cheese and bagel chips—an homage, perhaps, to the Fairfax District?
Plan Check Fairfax opens for lunch and dinner this Friday. Come January, the restaurant will offer weekend brunch, late night bites, and cocktail pairing events.
Plan Check Fairfax, 351 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax District, plancheck.com.