I’m not a Foie Gras or Tuna Tartar kind of girl. I’m more of a salad and fries; smoothie and pizza chic. I like my food how I like my clothes: simple, but good quality. So, when I heard about The Dolce Group’s LA hotspot, Ketchup, I knew it was worth checking out. They take basic childhood dishes and give them a gourmet twist using fresh, high quality ingredients purchased daily from local markets. They currently have a LA and Huntsville, AL location, with a Washington DC store opening soon. The dinner menu is pretty cool. I could have gotten full off the appetizers alone.
Since I like weird concoctions of food, Ketchup was an obvious choice for dining. I started with a threesome: garlic parmesan, sweet potato, and cajun fries served with 5 different types of ketchup. Some of the ketchup tasted a little odd (wasabi ketchup, seriously?), the mango ketchup is clearly the way to go. Then I moved on to the mini Kobe dogs filled with Kobe chili, cheddar, and of course, ketchup. Next, the mini chicken tacos. All the usual suspects for the ingredients, but topped with chipotle ketchup. I’m not one for spicy, so I just wiped it off. But, believe them when they say “mini”, the little tacos looked like something I would give Bronson. I needed something smooth to wash it down, so I was thrilled to see my favorite soup, Lobster Bisque on the menu. The lobster was pretty plentiful (a lot of places are really stingy) but the broth was a little weird. I like thick creamy bisque, but theirs was more of a clear liquid topped with fried onions. It was somewhat reminiscent of french onion soup, with lobster chunks thrown in. It was not what I was expecting, but it was decent. I would get it again. Being from the South, I am a mac n’ cheese connoisseur. And in true Ketchup style, theirs was made with truffle and dungeness crab. It was such a delight to my taste buds and very cheesy. A must try for crab lovers. The truffle and crab really give it a pleasant twist (my friend kept saying it was good, but tasted a little fishy).
There was a roving cart that came to our table offering Martini samples using Tang, Kool-Aid, and Yoo Hoo. I passed and move on to dessert: Strawberry Shortcake. It was perfect. Just enough strawberries and ice cream.
I was surprised I liked the stylish, hip atmosphere (I’m more into the laid back California ambiance). The service was excellent and extremely attentive (but that might be attributed to the servers gawking at my friend Gwendolyn, a 5’11 beauty). Valet was a little pricey at $10 (and I hate Valet parking ever since my sunglasses and lipgloss were stolen) but it’s cheaper than getting a parking ticket at the nearby Sunset Plaza parking lot (ahem). Overall, Ketchup gets a thumbs up from me. Nothing beats a great menu of American classics with a modern twist. More Ketchup please!