Walking into The Church Key is like watching an Evanescence performance in 2005. It’s beautiful and definitely making you feel things, but you just don’t know how much longer it’s all going to be around. And that’s certainly no knock on The Church Key (or Amy Lee). Often times these things are out of the hands of the people involved. In The Church Key’s case, it’s their high-profile Sunset Strip location that motivates concern. When an entire boulevard sustains itself on the appearances of CW stars and drunk Persian teenagers on vacation from Dubai, longevity is often of minimal burden. Restaurants and clubs turn over here faster than Nicole Richie can drive down the wrong side of the 101.
But for all intents and purposes, The Church Key delivers. It accomplishes that crucial I’m-in-a-masonry-shop vibe for your Instagram account, while being classy enough to feel like you’re still doing something important with your life. The food is actually pretty delicious, and the menu is surprisingly broad.
You may hear Church Key referred to as "a dim sum restaurant," which is true only to a degree. Carts do roll around with small plates you can grab, but in our experience, they don't come around all that often. While some good stuff can certainly be found on them, they're a gimmick more than anything, so don't expect to eat a full wheeled-out meal. Plan to concentrate on the regular menu instead.
Do keep an eye out for Rihanna scooting by with alcoholic popsicles though. What? Well, it’s not actually Rihanna, but very likely her S.O.S music video double. And if there’s any part of this sporadic dim sum experience you really need, it’s these guys. Fresh, sweet and actually full of alcohol, feel free to grab a couple. And then tell Rihanna to f*cking finish her album already.
All that said, The Church Key knows exactly what it's doing. They have catered brilliantly to their environment and created a solid (if not slightly meandering) menu that just about anyone in this city could enjoy. Here’s to hoping they find a way to stick around a bit longer.
Though served tableside in an almost impenetrable shelving device, the reward is this perfectly savory, salty, and subtly sweet appetizer, a perfect first stop on the world tour that is The Church Key menu.
Solid pasta. And also a sh*t ton of it. We may be rewarding extra points here for quantity, but it’s earned. On top of being pretty darn delicious.
The quicker everyone realizes that there’s no such thing as a bad pierogi, the better.
A ballsy move to put the blockbuster Indian dish in the middle of a New American-esque menu, but they did it and the result is pretty great. We'd still order the rigatoni first.
The crust can be overwhelming, but what lives under it is a perfectly cut, flaky-white snapper.
Not enough restaurants put America’s favorite pink meat on the menu, but The Church Key does and it's salty, sweet, delicious and salty. The perfect ham.
Sweet Mother of God. These things could solve world peace. Greasy donuts are an epidemic and dry ones are a crime, but these heavenly little glories with a golden brown butter glaze find that perfect middle ground.