The definition of Dim Sum -refers to a style of Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum is also well known for the unique way it is served in some restaurants, whereby fully cooked and ready-to-serve dim sum dishes are carted around the restaurant for customers to choose their orders while seated at their tables.
What was once Barfly or One Sunset on Sunset Blvd now is Church Key! I have been to Church Key on many occasions and different nights, and one thing is for sure- I will return with large parties that require a lot of conversation, fun, and action. The food comes second to mind, but still good. In one sentence I can explain Church Key as- stamp your card after pulling small bites off carts, spend a lot with out realizing until the end, but worth the time if a cocktail is in hand.
While I like to order off of the menu which serves as family style, I have noticed that I rarely pull from the dim sum carts being pushed around. Favorite items off the Church Key menu, prepared by chef Steven Fretz are as followed; the Ahi Tuna Tartare ($16 feeds for 4 per my experience), the Jidori Chicken “Tikka Massala” ($22 pictured above,this dish was eclectic), next up the Chicken Liver Parfait ($13 comes with Toasted Brioche), and lastly the Grilled Skirt Steak ($24 good for some protein, but very average). There are many other wonderful items on the menu, but these are what I tend to recommend.
Their Mixology program is one of the best parts of the restaurant.Vintage Pan Am carts serving popsicles similar to “Otter Pops”, but infused with alcohol wander around the restaurant by waitresses dressed as flight attendants. In my experience the Pan Am pusher came at the beginning of my meal during my first visit to Church Key, and I was confused as to whether the ice pop was a dessert choice or appetizer choice- naturally I saved it for after dinner.
Next… the carts! These are great, but can get very confusing and a bit annoying. I am all for the small plates and tasty bites. But those who dine at Church Key when eating off these carts all night- will inevitably have a HUGE bill. Each of these little treats are a minimum of $6 dollars, and I mean we are talking special flavored popcorn, shrimp sushi rolls, falafels, vegetable dumplings, down to pig ear “Cheetos”. They are carted out from the kitchen behind giving those who are placed by the kitchen first dibs, leaving the rest who are positioned and seated near the entrance cold dishes on carts- possibly picked up by a patron to evaluate whether they want an extra bite or not. Furthermore, when I returned to Church Key with friends on some slower nights, our server stated that they are not available for a few hours, when I was entertaining folks there to see these carts. Nonetheless- I have had some amazing bites off these carts like short rib bites, parmesan toast, and brioche donuts that were delicious.
Visit the Church Key- it is entertaining and an experience I feel all who live in Los Angeles should have.
Best Bite- by far the Chicken Liver Parfait and the Ahi Tuna Tartare.Church Key 8730 W. Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Wikipedia for Definition, and all photos provided by Food Flaunt