The Church Key, Hollywood

8730 Sunset Blvd · West Hollywood, CA 90069 · Neighborhood: West Hollywood

When I have out of town visitors who want to experience L.A. nightlife and see “Hollywood” I usually suggest we go to Sunset Blvd. I know better than to take my guests to tourist traps (see: Saddle Ranch or Cabo Cantina), both of which were once go-to spots when I first moved to Cali 9 years ago! These days, I let my tastebuds be my guide and prefer a night of classy eating and good drinking. Luckily, there plenty of spots for that on the Sunset Strip, and the freshly opened Church Key is soon to be a new favorite…

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The Church Key on Sunset

The Church Key in Hollywood opened up late October and I was lucky to receive an invitation to sample the menu and experience what this hip and sexy new night spot has to offer; electric energy, stiff drinks and an ever changing menu. It can be as casual or intimate as you want it to be.

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“Fashioned Chai” – Apple Jack Brandy, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Chai Syrup, Orange Peel

My first reaction: “Gosh, this place is cool.” Followed by “ooh, so cozy,” and “heeey, hello handsome!” Good looking servers (some donning Pan Am flight attendant uniforms), push around retro fitted Delta Airlines serving carts and serve up American-style dim sum.

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Server/ stewardess makes “boozy” otter pops

They hand you plates and stamp your card and you relax on comfy couches decorated with crocheted quilts as you cheers your friends by the fireplace. Beverage Director Devon Espinosa (Ink, Pour Vous) has the Negroni’s canned in-house and the boozy Otter Pops (a.k.a. Fla-Vor-Ice a.k.a. popsicles) are frozen with liquid nitrogen. Yep. It’s that kind of place.

Sound like a good time? It is, and the food isn’t too shaby either. What I sampled…

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“Spiked” Otter Pops made-to-order at your table

Can’t say no to popcorn. Especially seasoned with brown butter, salt and vinegar. Mmm!

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Salt and Vinegar Brown Butter Popcorn

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Inside the Church Key (just part of it… this place is huge!… and cozy.)

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“Shot in the Dark” – Dolin Blanc, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, pineapple, Absinth Rinse

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Frog hollow pear salad, manouri cheese frisee black walnuts, poached pear vinaigrette

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House Made Parker Rolls, whipped sea salt, butter, bacon jam

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Crispy Pork Belly, Gochujang Glaze, cashew butter, radish, sesame

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Ahi Tuna Tartare, pomegranate greek yogurt, cucumber, pappadam

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Chicken Liver Parfait, huckleberry, brioche, sea salt, chive

These pig ear Cheetos are weird, but cool, and oddly, they DO taste like Cheetos! Definately worth trying at least once. And more than once if you LOVE Cheetos!

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Pig Eared Cheetos and fluffy guacamole dip

You could come here simply to drink some cocktails, grab a few items from the carts as they roll by and call it a night. Or you can go big and order entrees too. There’s also a really nice bar to hang around and pick up good looking loners. Drink up! and pucker up!

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“Harlequin” – Bonal, Raspberry Gomme, lime & “Fretzy” Alto Resposado, St. Germain, Reagan’s Orange Bitters, Grapefruit Peel

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Bite-sized dehydrated sallops from the cart

I loved the creaminess of this pasta. Hand-rolled and made to perfection.

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Hand rolled Cavatelli Pasta, “truffled” Alfredo, crispy artichokes, castlemango cheese

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Tuna on crispy rice, from the cart

This snapper is an insanely popular dish (for good reason) and is a specialty of chef Steven Fretz (Top Round, XIV) — a MUST get.

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Tapioca Crusted Tai Snapper broccolini, white soy, vinaigrette

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Stuffed “Peking Quail”, red rice, apple, parsnip, puree, sansho truffle jus

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“Canned Negroni,” with of course, a church key! Made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth

This was Grrrrreat! (And btw, after this, I’m  probably drunk at this point of the night)

“The Negroni” after it’s poured

So many stamps! Like a badge of honor having taken down all those plates. Whoa! Job well done teammates!

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This is what your card will look like when you eat and drink too much! Ha!

These donuts are a MUST get. I was too full at this point to think clearly, so… when in doubt, we ordered two desserts.

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Brioche Donute, brown butter glaze, cinnamon caramel

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Chai Poached Pear Tart, Almond Streusel, Amaretto Sabayon

So much attention to detail, The Church Key is such a fun place. Even the bill is sexy.

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“Come back and see me…” Don’t worry, I will!

Come with a friend or 5… or perhaps come on a 3rd date, to you know, impress your partner… She’ll think you were trying to put the moves on her… and might actually enjoy some of those moves…

[Special note: Thank you to the Church Key for hosting our dinner. All opinions are my own.]

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