Ketchup On Sunset
As you open the two giant glass doors to enter Ketchup, one of Sunset Boulevard's newest entries in the fine restaurant category, you'll be greeted by two of the loveliest ladies who will check you in and escort you up the stairs, or on the elevator, to the second floor. And when you arrive there, be prepared to look at one of the most beautiful dining rooms around. Painted in red and white, the lighting, tables, banquettes and booths delight the eyes as you look around this rectangular room. The music is upbeat but at 7:00 p.m. it goes from soft and melodic to progressively louder as the evening wears on, unfortunately.
We were seated at a banquette, side by side, behind us, the large glass window looking out on the sea of cars wending their way along Sunset and Mel's Diner, across the street. As you peruse their menu, there are many items reminiscent of Mel's with some very unusual added twists:
The very first item on the menu is "3 Some": three kinds of French fries, served with five different flavored ketchups; regular, chipotle, mango, ranch and maple. As a Heinz 57 lover these past seventy years, it was rather exciting and delightful to try something new for each had a taste totally captivating and unusual.
We began our dinner with a bowl of Manhattan Chowder: a tomato seafood bouillabaisse, filled with fresh clams and mussels and fresh shell fish and garlic rubbed crostinis. Yes, it's thirteen dollars, but it's ample enough to split for three or four or consume yourself. Together with their superb rolls and bread sticks and garlic butter, this could be a delightful dinner for one, all by itself.
Fran and I shared the "Kobe Burger BLT Sliders" ($10) and the "Barking Dogs" – two mini Kobe beef hot dogs ($9) plus an order of those special fries and onion rings. The burgers were sensational, the fries most delicious, their Parmesan-Garlic Ring Tower ($11) phenomenal but the barking dogs will yelp no more for us; too small and totally unsatisfying.
Although we were quite satisfied up to this point, we had ordered the "shake and Bake" ($19) – a pistachio-crusted chicken breast served in a raspberry-Dijon sauce which Fran devoured in ecstasy. My "Wharf" ($34), a pan filled with exquisite Chilean sea bass, shrimp, clams and mussels; all baked in a Chardonnay citrus sauce, was equally terrific but that, along with the Manhattan Chowder, was a bit too repetitious. Suggestion: Choose one or the other, not both!
Ketchup is "Comfort Food" plus lots of fish, chicken, ribs, steaks, soups and salads. Do, do try their lobster mashed potatoes – an original, luscious blend in yet another comfort food. It is served with many of the entrees which are mostly in the $15 – $25 bracket. The large portions are suitable to split and prepared with love by Chef David and delivered hot from the kitchen by an attentive, attractive serving staff. The strawberry shortcake of sliced strawberries, ice-cream, whipped cream and a soft, buttery cake is delicious; also quite sharable.
Nice place, pretty place, good food, quite comfortable at reasonable, fair prices. Pour a little Ketchup into your life. And when you do, please tell 'em Joseph sent you!
Ketchup, 8590 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood CA 90069, Tel. 310-289-8590 (West of La Cienega) Lunch: Monday thru Friday only 12-3; Dinner 6-10 Approx. $50 for two w/o alcohol Sunday Dinner: 50% off the total bill. www.dolcegroup.com