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Plan Check, Cecconi's and Ditmas; Oh My!

Not to mention 2117.  And Parq Bar at The Montage Hotel.  Turns out, no computer = more time out.  Hit five restaurants in four days.  Thank you friends for aiding and abetting.

Day One aka Christmas Eve: Dinner and cocktails at Parq Bar at the Montage.
Day Two aka Christmas: Dinner at 2117.
Day Three: Late brunch at Cecconi's.  Dinner at Ditmas Kitchen and Cocktails.
Day Four: Dinner at Plan Check, Fairfax.

In my new Display à la Zagat, on a scale of 1 (Oh NO!) to 10 (off the charts FAB), here's how they ranked.  Ambiance is the vaguest of categories as it encompasses interior Design, energy/vibe and the crowd.

*Opening night.  Almost unfair to rate.  I really like Chef Alex Reznik, believe that he is quite talented and think he'll work it out.  Please Don't be Dissuaded.

Chronologically, here are some notes.

My second annual Christmastime sojourn to the Parq Bar at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills was more of a Delight than expected (though if you're a Xmas-hotel-goer as I am, nothing holds a candle to the Hotel Bel-Air). My friend and I shared a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with spicy cocktail sauce and lemon horseradish cream.  As one would hope for $22, the shrimp are huge, fresh and Divinely chilled.  The surprise was the charcuterie selection of specialty house cured meats (at $24, pricey bar food). Each slice of meat was Delicate and subtle yet Developed with enough spice, smoke and salty flavor to satisfy. Cocktails were a hefty $17 each so a night at the bar sets one back.  All worth it on Christmas; you're paying for the pomp more than the nourishment.  Forgot to take photos as I was living in the moment (Don't laugh - I was) and besides, I was busy with the faux Santa.

Christmas night is always a hop-scotched Dance if you're Dining out.  Hotels are open.  Chinatown is.  Little else. My group found ourselves in the lone street version of Little Tokyo, occasionally referred to as Little Osaka, a northern stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard.  2117 got the nod and it seemed to have great promise from the advance we'd gleaned.  I was led (Yelped-over) to Spaghettini with Shredded Chinese Duck combining green onions, avocados, tomatoes, garlic.  I know.  It Doesn't even sound good and it wasn't.  It may have soured my other tastings of my friends' items. Of theirs, a crisp arugula and apple salad Dressed in a sesame soy vinaigrette Delighted. The by-far best of night was the Crème Brûlée. I'd match it against any.

Arugula salad at 2117

Creme brulée at 2117

After a weekly run to Cecconi's for its first year or two, Cecconi and I had faded from each other's view.  I returned on the 26th for late brunch.  Aside from it being absolutely Dee-lish, it is a veritable bargain with a great crowd to ogle.  My butternut squash and barley soup followed by green eggs, avocado, and pesto on toast were winners.  Wholeheartedly recommend. 

Green eggs plus at Cecconi's
As for Ditmas Kitchen and Cocktails that Debuted this week on Pico Blvd. by Top Chef alum Alex Reznik, I will reserve comments for a second visit.  It was heartbreaking to me that the night went as it Did for us. Sometimes it's just our own expectant energy that Disappoints. Chef Alex is wonderful and the love he pours into what he Does is irrefutable.  Let's wait.

Ditmas' Tuna Carpaccio - my favorite of our samplings
Dining Room at Ditmas' Opening Night

Ditmas bar/lounge

Kosher at Ditmas!

Last but Definitely not least is Plan Check in its new location on Fairfax Ave.  I ventured in as a Plan Check virgin and left a new woman.  Boldly with the Breeders Cup cocktail in hand, I shall forevermore order my spicy cucumber, sriracha, sesame pickles, a milk-bread-crunch-bun-covered beef burger with beef-tallow-fried-best-in-class fries, and the smokey fried chicken grazed in sweet yam preserves alongside spicy pickled okra.  No room for Doubting my invincibility.  That food matched my DNA and has (somehow) coursed through my veins with all of its saturated you-know-what. From the greeting host to the friendly Diners around us, there is a commitment to a heart-y experience.  The food that should bolster a cardiologist's income tasted like medicine for the soul. Woke up this morning and gleefully Danced around my living room to Zumba videos letting the Plan Check calories melt away. I Defend indulgence as long as it's in check, pun intended.

Spicy cucumber, sriracha and sesame pickles, Plan Check

The Plan Check burger

Smokey fried chicken and the best friggin' fries

The Breeders Cup and the Cascading Hophead

Friday night Plan Check, Fairfax. Two rooms, ample seating. One drawback, parking.