Credit: Shaena Engle
West Hollywood’s The Church Key is part dim sum, part nostalgia, with a dash of modern American cuisine added in.
The large and airy white brick restaurant houses a huge double-sided fireplace surrounded by overstuffed leather couches, vintage chandeliers, elegant drapes, and a roomy back lounge and bar area.
The dim sum portion of the menu offers diners the opportunity to choose items from roaming carts carrying falafel croquettes, pig-ear Cheetos, coconut crusted shrimp, hamachi crudo, and other assorted appetizers. Other carts carry house-canned cocktails that can be opened and poured by the metal church key provided at each table. Also making the rounds are Pan Am vintage drink carts driven by staff dressed in flight attendant uniforms and carrying alcoholic freeze pops complete with tableside liquid nitrogen. The most popular drink is their bloody Mary, which guests can pour and concoct themselves, with a delicious housemade canned mix.
The printed section of the menu offers standouts such as the tuna tartare with Greek yogurt and pomegranate seeds, chicken liver parfait, truffled cavatelli, potato pierogi with apple butter, fried snapper with a tapioca crust, grilled skirt steak and pickled baby vegetables, and halibut with sweet onion marmalade and smoked tomato hollandaise. The brioche doughnuts are the best of the dessert selection, which also offers a chocolate peanut torte, peach and plum cobber, mango panna cotta, and banana toffee pudding cake.
In addition to dinner, The Church Key also serves a fantastic weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday.