If looks were everything, Ketchup would have at least 4 stars. I really liked the look of the restaurant from the white booths to the red balls that served as lighting to the ketchup inspired art on the walls. There was a cool LA vibe to the place which was further enhanced by the 20-something hipsters that served as the majority of the customers that night.
However, cool LA vibe or not, it's really the food that determines whether I'll return to a restaurant to dine and unless someone takes me for a free meal, I don't plan on making a trip back to Ketchup anytime soon.
Oh, one thing I did want to mention before I get into food. There's actually a "bartender" who pushes a drink cart throughout the restaurant who will give you free samples of some of their signature martinis. Considering that those martinis are $12 each, this is a nice service that Ketchup provides. After all, if you're going to spend the bucks on a drink, you might as well know if it's going to be worth it or not. Now I'm not sure whether they put a limit on the free samples or not, so don't assume that you'll be getting freebies all night.
So now let's talk about food. When we sat down, we got complimentary breadsticks and pretzel bread that came with a spicy mustard. I actually liked the pretzel bread a lot. It was soft and warm and had that nice hit of saltiness. The spicy mustard could have been spicier, but still it went well with the bread.
When we finally ordered, my group decided to share 3 appetizers. The first to arrive was the Scandalous Lobster Wraps, which were chunks of lobster meat, iceberg lettuce topped with mango ketchup. Given that this appetizer is described as being "scandalous", you'd think that the wrap would be so delicious that you almost felt like you were committing a crime eating it. That wasn't the case at all. In fact, the scandal quickly whimpered away after I took my first bite. The lobster meat tasted really bland. Even the addition of the mango ketchup added nothing to this dish. In fact, I found the mango ketchup to be too sweet. At least, the lettuce was crisp and fresh.
Soon came the Mini Chicken Tacos and I have to say that out of everything we ordered, this was the tastiest. The blue corn taco shells had a nice light crunch to it and I thought the chicken was moist and tender. With the addition of the cheese, salsa and sour cream, this little taco was packed with a lot of great flavor. I could have eaten a couple of plates just on my own.
The last appetizer we shared was the 3some, which consisted of three separate containers with the three different French Fries that they have on their menu. Those fries were:
Ketchup Fries (garlic-parmesan tossed)
Fire Fries (cayenne spiced)
Sweet Potato Fries
The fries were okay, but while I could taste a little bit of the parmesan on the Ketchup Fries, the garlic was missing in action. The Fire Fries had a little spice to it, but were certainly not that fiery and as for the sweet potato yams, they were mushy and could have been a bit crispier.
With the fries came 5 different ketchups: Chipotle, Classic, Mango, Maple & Ranch. Now I remember the mango ketchup being a little too sweet from the Lobster Wraps, but I don't really remember what the Maple & Ranch ketchups tasted like. That's how forgettable they were; however, I really liked the Chipotle ketchup a lot. It had a nice smoky flavor that was really appealing.
A few of us ordered entrees. I had the Beer Can Chicken which was a garlic studded whole chicken braised in Sam Adams and came with smashed potato, caramelized onion & baby vegetables. This entree cost $19 and wasn't worth it. Yes, the portion was huge so I did take most of it home, but it was one of the most flavorless chicken dishes I have ever had.
Just like the garlic from the Ketchup fries, the garlic was definitely missing in this dish. Garlic-studded, my you know what! The sides were just as bad. The mashed potatoes were a bit grainy and not smooth or creamy and the veggies were overcooked. It was just an awful entree.
Two other entree dishes people in my party ordered were the Diver Scallops and the Tuna Tartare dish. Apparently, the diver scallops were tasty so that's good and even the Tuna Tartare was apparently a hit, except for the fact that the basil potato chips that came with it were burnt. When the burnt chips were pointed out to the waitress, she took them away but never bothered to replace them. That certainly wasn't good service in my book.
Overall, Ketchup was a real disappointment and when you add $10 for valet parking, that just adds insult to injury. Like I said earlier, unless someone is planning on paying for my meal, I will definitely not be making a return trip to Ketchup anytime soon.
To see pics, go to:
8590 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069