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Wilson's or Fords' Filling Station?

Am taking two gals to lunch. One lives in Hawthorne, one in Venice and I live in Santa Monica. Culver City seemed like a good mid-point. Had thought of either Wilson's or Ford's Filling Station--have tried neither. Any other ideas--nice atmosphere, moderate price? Thanks.

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  1. cannot recommend Ford's Filling Station-
    expensive for what it is and mediocre.

    Haven't been to Wilson

    what about Beacon in the same area?- Asian-fusion, delish, nice menu choices, about the same price point or lower $10-15 lunch entrees

    1. Thought I just posted this, but it didn't show up.
      Anyway, go to Wilson, definitely. There are only a very few items at FFF that are actually good, and last I was there, service was still pretty bad. But service had been bad at Wilson too, but at least their food is much better than FFF.

      4 Replies
      1. re: slacker

        Per today's Restaurant Journal in the LAT:
        "Ben Ford has hired former Norman's chef Mike Bryant as chef de cuisine of Ford's Filling Station".
        Maybe the new chef is turning around the food-related issues. Those that ate at Norman's liked the quality of the food.

        1. re: carter

          WOW! That is great news!! :) Perhaps they'll do a pig roast there... ;)


          1. re: Dommy

            oh hell yeah! that would be AWESOME!

          2. re: carter

            Totally missed this post two months ago. Last time I was there was early january, so maybe I'll give it another try.

        2. I agree about Wilson - the food is excellent at lunch (if you don't mind dropping some cash). FFS has been inconsistent and unimpressive the few times I've been there, with spotty service.

          1. You could also try KZO sushi that just opened which right down the street.

            1. In the same area, Bistro de l'Hermitage. (You can search Chowhound - there are threads.) It's a lovely little French place on a very wide scenic sidewalk - great outdoor patio, great food - and be sure to order the chocolate souffle as soon as you get there, for dessert. (Takes time to make.) The halibut - I think it's halibut - is in a truly gorgeous wine/cream/herb sauce.

              1. Ford's is derivative, average food at hyped up prices. Very nice atmosphere if it's not too loud -- warm rugs and woods with the big open ovens blazing in the back.

                Wilson is a restaurant definitely trying to make a statement. Food has been excellent and while somewhat overpriced, you won't walk away feeling gypped. In fairness to its prices however, portions are very large. American fusion cooking -- anything with big flavors (african spices, curry, seafood pasta).

                K-Zo is a very good suggestion. It's asian fusion with sushi and sashimi choices as well. Quite a large menu; some dishes tend to have a bit too much mayonaisey type fillers (lobster roll, crab/avocado salad for example).

                1 Reply
                1. re: NAspy

                  Wilson was excellent for lunch. I feel I'm getting a decent value there (where at FFS, it's always slow service and below-average food for too much $).

                2. Finally tried Ford's Filling Station as we've heard so much and wanted to sample ourselves. Sat at the bar because the maitre d said reservations booked solid....however there were plenty of empty tables and the bartenders even said it was dreadfully slow because of the holidays. This turned us off a little, but...

                  to be fair, we didn't know we'd be in Culver City that night, restaurants do suddenly fill up, and we enjoy meeting new people, so we didn't mind sitting at the bar.

                  Ordered the brussel sprouts with bacon (yum!),lamb black bean soup of the day (interesting), Fra mani salumi plate (yum!), and some wine.

                  The prices for wines by the glass border on highway robbery especially for what you're getting, or not getting. We noticed the same wine by the glass at Hatfields for much less.

                  Food is good, but the hyped up prices spoil the experience. After all, who here on Chowhound enjoys being robbed?

                  1. Forgot about this. We did go to Wilson's. Two friends had panninis. The pulled pork was quite good. I had the escolar, which for lunch was awfully expensive ($25) and, contrary to what I had read about the restaurant, a very small portion. It was well-prepared and quite tasty. I was trying to eat lightly so this was the best bet on the menu (and it was too cold that day for salads). One of us had a nice little glass of prosecco, and we tried a couple of desserts--the one I remember was a peach cobbler with creme anglaise. That was probably the best thing we ordered, altho' sweet for my taste. For this kind of food--better portions, less money, more interesting menu, great cooking-- I'd much rather go to Nook. And if I'm in the Culver City area, I'd rather eat lunch at Tender Greens.

                    1. I've never been to Wilson's but have been to FFS twice. I've loved it each time, as have the others at my table. Once I was with a party of 10 and the services was excellent. You can't go wrong with the food, I think, and the prices are ok. The wine selection by glass is ho-hum.

                      1. Definitely Wilson, although a bit on the $$$ side. I was not impressed with Ford Filling Station.

                        1. By the way, what is the deal with the Los Angeles Times and Ford's Filling Station? Every single story about Culver City in the LAT in the last two years has mentioned Ford's Filling Station, one of the most overrated and overhyped restaurants in Los Angeles. Seven stories in the last year alone, as if there weren't dozens of other restaurants in the area. Has anyone at the LAT even eaten there? Are they on the take? And why do they say it is the first gastropub when Father's Office is so clearly the first and so far superior?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: readwrite222

                            "By the way, what is the deal with the Los Angeles Times and Ford's Filling Station? "

                            Answer is obvious: Papa Harrison.

                          2. Is wilson's in torrance?? I went to F.F.S. Sat. liked it but was not overwhelmed with anything in particular. Had the rib eye (o.k.) Tried the trout o.k. Had meat appetizers pretty good. It struck me that FFS is a "guys restaurant" there is lots of meat infact there were lots of tables of guys chating and drinking, not something you see everyday except in a sportsbar. So if your friends are looking for a possibility to hook up, chances are better.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: thatwoman

                              No, Wilson is at 8631 E. Washington in downtown Culver City.
                              website here:

                            2. I love Ford's Filling Station. I was so happy with my experience there that I went three weeks in a row. The food was really tasty, the atmosphere was great. I do have to comment on the wine service though...red wine always comes out too warm. Someone I know went last week though and said this wasn't a problem, so maybe they fixed it (or it was the coldest week in LA of the winter).

                              1. As of this point, Ford's is leading the pack in my own personal Fancy But Standard Bar Burger (cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, $10-$20) smackdown by about one point, having gained that by being the only one cooked EXACTLY as I'd ordered it. The meat was particularly flavorful, the bun held together well, and it was thick without being a jawbreaker. It was $14 at lunch, and worth it.

                                My wife's cheese plate would've been a ripoff, except she got a whole 'nother load of bread and some fruit for free when she asked...but that could've just been our very nice waiter.

                                1. I love Wilson!! I've been there on busy weekend nights as well as slower lunches, and I will continue to go back. Food has been consistently good. A favorite of mine is the asparagus salad...i dream of it!! Also the octopuss is outstanding. Definitely get the chicken open face sandwich if you go for lunch. Service is great. Everyone who's waited on me and my guests have all been wonderful.

                                  I've been to Ford's filing station only a couple times. The food was alright, but not anything that I can really rave about. Service was fine.

                                  If you are ever in the mood for the best grilled cheese ever made, go to bottlerock. They only have tapas, and wine, of course, but i just recently had a grilled cheese there, and it blew me away.

                                  Otherwise, I highly recommend Wilson.