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father's office

i've lived in santa monica but never made it to father's office for the coveted burger. well, i got my chance last night and i must say that hovering over a bunch of people waiting for them to relinquish their table in a dark, loud, crowded bar was well worth it. the burger was absolutely delicious. we also had the very yummy spicy olives and goat cheese gratin to start. two not so high notes were the peppercorn shrimp, which was kind of flavorless and the french fries which were completely forgetable. but hands down the star of the show is that burger!

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  1. You didn't like the sweet potato fries?

    1. I also went to FO last night and was looking forward to some burgery deliciousness, but got there too late - apparently the kitchen closes at 10pm during the week. Dude behind the bar said they stay open an hour later on the weekends, though I think they do that on Thursdays as well, as I was able to get one at 10:30pm about two weeks ago.

      1. I had a pork belly dish with cilantro pesto that was really tasty. The pesto was a nice foil to richness of the pork belly, tart and bright. It's a special though, I've only seen it one time on the menu. :(

        1. when is a good time to go when it's not crowded? i don't really want to have to wait for a table....

          2 Replies
          1. re: luvgrub

            It's pretty much always crowded. The best thing to do is get there when they open at 5pm to grab a table or snag a spot at the bar.

            1. re: luvgrub

              They're open now at lunch during the weekend so you can sometimes have better luck going in the mid-afternoon on Saturday or Sunday.

            2. I finally went to Father's Office for the first time last night - Sunday night at 7:30pm. It was really crowded. I waited outside for about 5 minutes before being let in.

              The burger, $11, was amazing (and pretty big too). It tasted pretty rich - not something I could eat every day - but wow, it was spectacular. The flavors of the meat, cheese, arugula, and carmelized onions all complimented one another perfectly, the meat was juicy and perfectly done medium, and the bun was outstanding like none I've ever seen(does anyone know where they get their bread?). I did not miss my usual ketchup - gotta hand it to the chef, he knows what he's doing.

              My one very small gripe is that they should serve the burgers with moist towelettes, because they're pretty sticky, especially when you don't have a table to sit at and are eating it with one hand while balancing your beer and fries on a stool. It's so worth it though...

              I thought the fries were fantastic - I just got the regular fries, not sweet potato. They were really skinny and the spicy mayo/ranch/whatever dipping sauce they serve with them was perfect. Again, I did not miss my usual ketchup at all.

              The beer selection is great but not as extensive as I was expecting with what I'd heard about the place, and I think it's odd they don't serve Guinness. The bartenders clearly know their stuff about all the beers. Service was slow, which is understandable with the big crowd, but once the place calmed down at 9:30 both the bartenders would start disappearing for huge chunks of time - really weird not to mention difficult.

              When I go again, it will probably be on a Sunday at 9:30 - last night at this time, several people could have easily walked in and gotten a table.

              18 Replies
              1. re: LisaStitch

                Yah, the drawback is that the kitchen closes so early...

                1. re: barcelona

                  Yeah, I don't know why they wouldn't keep it open til later, they obviously do great business off the food. Food was still being served after 10, so maybe you just have to get your order in before 10...

                  Someone also told me they do takeout, which is another way to avoid the crowds. I think I'm going to try this sometime and see if the quality suffers much...

                  1. re: LisaStitch

                    I've done take-out a few times and I've found that the burgers hold up very well. I'm glad you finally got to try the burger :)!

                  2. re: barcelona

                    I was there once when the kitchen was already closed, and they actually let people order in some pizza from Domino's. Thought that was interesting and cool of them.

                    1. re: jennp

                      How very odd that they would allow customers to order in and partake of a Dominos pizza, but a harmless bottle of ketchup is verboten !

                      1. re: silence9

                        wow i must have gone at all the right times, cause i've gone on sunday, late lunch, and people were openly passing around a bottle of ketchup that someone brought.

                        1. re: silence9

                          You can bring in your own ketchup, they just don't serve it in the restaurant.

                          1. re: hrhboo

                            Got it. Thanks...

                            1. re: hrhboo

                              What is the ketchup corkage?

                              1. re: PaulF

                                Heinz-sight being 20/20, just don't let the server catsup with you!

                                1. re: silence9

                                  lol. cute

                      2. re: LisaStitch

                        You mentioned getting the burger medium; is it possible to get it medium-rare or rare as well? I like em pretty bloody.

                        1. re: chucktowneater

                          You can have it cooked any way you like. You just can't substitute and substitutions aren't necessary. It's just so damn good the way it comes!

                          1. re: whatsfordinner

                            I've heard that they will refuse to cook the burger over medium.

                            Mr Taster
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                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              They cooked it over medium for me the last time I was there.

                          2. re: chucktowneater

                            It's very best cooked rare, I think!

                            1. re: chucktowneater

                              I was there last Friday night, we ordered our burgers medium rare and they came back... medium well. They were still tasty though.

                            2. re: LisaStitch

                              God I love Father's Office. Hate the crowd, love the chow.

                              About them not serving Guinness; why would you possibly mind. Though still widely beloved, Guinness has basically become a big multi-national behemoth and is so widely available, available in practically every sports bar and faux-Irish pub in the world that it hardly feels special anymore. I think Father's Office is trying to treat beer kind of like wine. Having Guinness would be a bit like having jugs of Gallo.

                            3. I'm also a huge fan of Father's Office and their burger, have been going there for a few years now. We usually go when they open to get a table, but have done take out as well - it's a 7-8 minute drive back to the house and as mollyomormon said, the burger holds up pretty well! I've seen the owner inside the place on more than several occassions and am crossing my fingers that the quality of their food doesn't go down as soon as they open up their new location (anyone know when it's supposed to open???). I love their fries - both regular and sweet potato - they also had an asparagus w/ egg crumbs + balsamic dressing salad that was very yummy! So good that I've been making it at home :)

                              Oh and I'm not a huge beer person, but they have a Japanese brand that is fairly new in the market called Hitachino.
                              Here's a description - Hitachino Nest Beer:
                              White Ale
                              A refreshing mildly hopped Belgian styled beer with a complex flavor of coriander, orange peel, nutmeg. White Ale has won gold medals at several beer conpetition in U.K. and U.S. This is deffinitely one of Hitachino's top-selling beers both in Japan and U.S.

                              If someone tries this beer, please let me know what you think!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: gomagoma

                                Hitachio is nothing new, but I can see FO promoting it as such.

                                It's good, the white. You can get it at Whole Foods.

                                1. re: Diana

                                  I didn't know Whole Foods had it. I've never seen it at one of their Sherman Oaks locations (the one on Riverside).

                                  The Beverage Warehouse in Marina del Rey has the White Ale, Red Rice Ale (my favorite), and Classic Ale. It's not cheap though, as it's close to $4 for a 11.2 oz bottle (I wonder if it's partially due to the fact that Japan taxes the hell out of beer). I shudder to think what FO charges for it.

                                  1. re: nakni

                                    It's begining to show up lots of places. Surfas carries it on ocassion... bottle rock... some other fancier booze shops..

                                    --Dommy!

                                2. re: gomagoma

                                  I love Hitachino's White Ale. You can get it at Vendome Liquor. They also have a slightly darker one there (wheat? I can't remember), but the white is better.

                                  1. re: teach

                                    Here's another sort-of-rare Japanese one: Koshihikari Echigo beer. Again, my beer intake is so little (I prefer wine) that I probably shouldn't be the one making recommendations, but I thought this one was much better than your Asahi/Sapporos. It's about the same price as Hitachino or a bit more (found some at Marukai market in Torrance). BTW, you can also have great sushi at Mori with Hitachino beer :)

                                    1. re: gomagoma

                                      Echigo is good, definitely way better than Asahi/Sapporo. Will need to try Hitachino.

                                3. Three words, guys. U. NI. BROU. I go to FO's for a Fin du Monde and a basket of sweet potato fries. But what I love best is just enjoying the bustle... few places I've been in L.A. (granted, I don't get out a lot these days) where people are up for splitting tables and making conversation with their neighbors.

                                  1. I asked if they had Leffe Blonde the one time I went and I was told, with a pungent sneer, that Leffe doesn't make a blonde beer. Attitude + idiocy = future vandalism

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: mr mouther

                                      They are often snooty. Go to Naja's in Redondo beach. No Burger, but OK food, good seafood right down the pier, an AMAZING selection of draught and bottled beers and FABULOUS service!

                                      http://www.najasplace.com/

                                      1. re: Diana

                                        There's burgers at Naja's. They're ok, but I think I like the quesadilla
                                        better. And since when did Leffe stop making blonde beer?

                                        1. re: keaton

                                          Leffe never stopped making it - that's the point. (and this event happened 3 years ago anyway)

                                          Naja's looks like a good time. (of course i'll have to hold myself back from the uni, which is what i usually go down to redondo for)

                                          1. re: mr mouther

                                            Better yet, get the uni (which is harvested in Santa Barbara, anyhow) AND go to Naja's!

                                            Better yet, besides good beer, pretty good food, great atmosphere and attitude, Naja's has live music from local bands.

                                            The place is now owned by a local Homebrew guy who darn well KNOWS his beer!

                                            1. re: Diana

                                              I went to Naja's last friday and the place is fantastic. PLiny the Elder on tap? Yes! Alaskan Summer Ale? Yes!
                                              super nice folks, mellow clientele, view of the ocean - that's a great bar. i'm glad all these wankers are waiting in line at FO so there's less folks at Najas.

                                              for food, we had onion rings (a little overcooked, but the right size/kind of onion (at least when vidalia's aren't around)

                                              chicken wings - not quite hot enough, and they only served the legs, but above average

                                              large plate of chicken kebabs to share. comes with lots of pitas, guac, pico de gallo, sour cream. the chicken was diced into very small pieces so it fit better into the pitas (which had also been cut into sixths)

                                              i'll always prefer a place like this to FO - thanks much for the rec.

                                              1. re: mr mouther

                                                Naja's puts FO to shame in terms of great beer. I prefer Naja's food, but I think that has to do with that the experience of eating there is so much nicer for me. Even if it's a longer drive to get there!

                                          2. re: keaton

                                            Hey so how are the fries & onion rings? Looked good, but never tried them?

                                            1. re: jim2657

                                              Pretty good.

                                      2. I finally went there Tuesday night about 6:30pm. Must have hit it just right, no wait outside, but it was crowded inside. Staff was very friendly, explained the unique process... order food at the bar and snag a seat whenever it becomes available.

                                        We ordered:
                                        - The office burger: yes, it lives up to all the hype, no ketchup needed. wonderfully complex flavors. I asked for it well done, it came back well done.
                                        - Regular fries - very good, and the aioli sauce was divine
                                        - spanish mushrooms - yummy
                                        - beet salad - very large portion; partner had it for entree. Well done!

                                        and now the beers:
                                        - I asked for a 'good heff' - I do not know what brand I received, but it was very nice.
                                        - partner got the Craftsman White Sage - oh - my - god... this was amazing.

                                        Anyone know where I can buy Craftsman beer?????

                                        Overall, we both agreed that we would return. Maybe do takeout, as it is a very small and noisy place. It's a typical westside 'scene', but the food and drink make it worth it, as long as you are prepared for the experience.

                                        lastly, the burger was very big - I ate half and took half home. Reheated the next day in the oven (yes, bun and all) for 15 mins - was great!

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: Diana

                                          i didn't think that craftsman was bottling yet. please tell me i'm wrong!

                                          http://www.laist.com/2007/05/04/laist...

                                          1. re: esculent

                                            Fantastic article, esculent.

                                            I love Craftsman. I buy kegs from Marc all the time for parties.

                                            The best part is that he usually gives samples of his latest concoction when you go to pick them up.

                                            Love FO also, the burger is great. I like crowded bars, so that aspect doesn't bother me in the least.

                                            1. re: socal

                                              Yeah, I met the (beer) love of my life at FO's.... the Craftsman Biere de Blanco... very refreshing, a bit citrusy...... but then it disappeared off FO's menu! I was crushed. But then, just yesterday, I gasped while reading online the offerings at the Library Bar downtown... there it was! And many other Craftsmans too! That's where I'm heading to celebrate the end of my exams.....

                                              1. re: amandine

                                                Yeah, Craftsman does batches of different beers and some are seasonal (or even less frequent). Biere de Blanc is a more common one, though, maybe not constantly made, but pretty often.

                                                Check out Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena also. They always have about 5 Craftsman beers on tap. The last two weeks have actually been the "Craftsman Brewery Festival" at LB's. They've had like 11 or 12 different Craftsman on tap. Nice.

                                                1. re: socal

                                                  My experiences with Lucky Baldwin's haven't been the greatest. Whenever I have asked the bartenders for suggestions, I have received blank stares and what amounted to a shrug. Elsewhere I've been (notably Finn McCool's in SM, Yard House in Pas, and yes, FO's before the dinner crowd arrived) I've gotten a verbal response, which is usually a bit more helpful and often includes a few suggestions or follow-up questions about my preferences.

                                                  I think last time I went to LB's, they didn't even have any Craftsman. Maybe I was misunderstood or something but I could swear he just shrugged at me. Sad to miss the festival though...

                                                  1. re: amandine

                                                    I go to Lucky Baldwin's every week (it is my local pub) and have never had the experience you describe. On a Friday or Saturday night (the worst times to go) you might get a server or bartender who is trying to juggle too many balls and therefore is in a rush, but they otherwise always have time to talk about beer. A fan of California IPAs who wants to try a Belgian? They have a recommendation. Prefer tart wheat beers? Here's what we have on tap. Also they ALWAYS have Craftsman on tap. Lucky Baldwin's was, I believe, the first bar to serve Craftsman beers, which are brewed just up the hill.

                                                    Are you sure you went to Lucky Baldwin's?

                                                    1. re: altadenafoodguy

                                                      yes but it's only been weekends. but i never go out anywhere on weeknights and lb's was different. maybe it's because i don't look like someone who actually cares about beer so they didn't take me seriously. :) i certainly didn't write them off for that, but i wasn't too pleased. i'll try to make it back there.... someday....

                                        2. We went a couple of weeks ago and walked out. I cant imagine any worse dining experience than hovering over people willing them to leave so you can arm wrestle your way into the table and then being the person being eyeballed through your meal. I dont care how good the burger is.

                                          17 Replies
                                          1. re: MellieMac

                                            Sometimes one should speak with one's feet.

                                            Sadly, the FO buzz is so crazy that people put up with crap and discomfort.

                                            No burger is worth that!

                                            1. re: Diana

                                              I am just not that bored with the hundreds of other great dining choices I have to put up with that kind of smug arrogance.

                                              1. re: MellieMac

                                                Is it arrogance or just a lack of infrastructure? What if they took reservations? Would you go even if you had to make your rez a month in advance? I'm just playing devil's advocate here, primarily because I'll go drive to great lengths for food (thus I would naturally stand and wait for great lengths for food, too).

                                                But I don't see the connection between waiting and arrogance.

                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                  You can't make rez's, and Yoon prefers it that way. What says "hip" more than a line out the door.?

                                                  Trust me, it's arrogance. He won't allow for food adaptations, even for allergies. he styles himself as an expert on beer, yet real beer guys catch hi stupid assumptons and mistakes every time he open his mouth. heck, i'm, NOT a beer expret (unlike my husband and his friendsThe Maltose Falcons), and even I catch his many mistakes.

                                                  But since he goes on "Good Food" and blathers bull, he has become known by those who don't know as a beer pro.

                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                    "You can't make rez's, and Yoon prefers it that way. What says "hip" more than a line out the door."
                                                    It's a BAR! I don't know of any bar that takes reservations.
                                                    I've never experienced any arrogance there at all. It's just a casual beer and wine bar that also serves delicious food. Hence, the line out the door.

                                                    1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                      It's fine if it were just a bar but it's become at least equal parts restaurant and bar. People wouldn't line up there for a draft poured into a hot pint glass fresh out of the dishwasher.
                                                      More people than there are tables for want to eat; hence there's an infrastructure problem.

                                                    2. re: Diana

                                                      Diana's post is a perfect analysis of the BS involved with this establishment.

                                                      And it's clear from reading the other posts that the people that can handle the terrible ambience at this joint are the people creating it

                                                      1. re: mr mouther

                                                        I've only been once, so maybe it just happened to magically be a good night, but I hardly waited to get in and the bartenders and servers were perfectly nice. I didn't detect any arrogance in anyone or in the atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be really happy and having a great time.

                                                        And as for "What says 'hip more than a line out the door?", they're not trying to be hip, they're trying to follow the fire codes. Reservations for a bar/burger place would be ridiculous. How about reservations at Tito's Tacos then? Reservations at The Griddle and every other brunch place? Reservations at In N Out? Reservations to get in line at a Costco store on a Saturday afternoon? Reservations to drive on the 405??

                                                        To each his own I guess. But I don't want to live in a reservations-only world. That, to me, would be incredibly arrogant and overbearing.

                                                        1. re: LisaStitch

                                                          Well said, LisaStitch!

                                                          1. re: LisaStitch

                                                            The line is definitely a fire code issue. They've been nailed once for sure, last year my friend was there and they had to clear out the place. Next time we went she was surprised to see the line but figured it had to do with the time the restaurant was cleared out for the violation.

                                                            And I agree, getting burgers and beer wouldn't be as fun without the crowd, general disorder, and the noise. There's something very collegial about pushing through the crowd to make your order at the bar. As a general rule, I never order burgers from a waiter while seated at a restaurant. I don't know, I guess burgers to me have a social significance beyond just having a good meal.

                                                      2. re: SauceSupreme

                                                        Oh dear lord, infrastructure? They got it. It's called arrogance. And it works for them. I am happy to make a reservation a month ahead of time for someplace I really want to dine. And I am happy to confirm it 24 hours ahead of time. And I am happy to have my locals that require me just showing up. I think requiring people to fight for their table is most definitely not worth it. I mean seriously, they must be laughing at everybody all the way to thae bank. The fact that people think tat is OK is absurd to me. Sorry.
                                                        For me, dining out is more than just about the food. So your devils advocate.....not so much.

                                                        1. re: MellieMac

                                                          It's not a dining room where you can book a table, it's a bar that happens to serve a great burger. You jostle for a seat just like you would for any bar stool in a busy watering hole. There isn't a bar in town where you can reserve a seat.

                                                          People wait longer for a seat at The Apple Pan or Griddle Cafe, and no one calls those places "pretentious" or "arrogant".

                                                          1. re: hrhboo

                                                            As said above, to each his own. Just not my cup of tea...

                                                            1. re: MellieMac

                                                              I would never have thought of suggesting a reservation system, but how about just a list so the seats are first come, first served. I won't go anymore because the stress of jostling for a seat isn't worth it. I want to hang out and chat with my friends while I wait for a seat, not feel like I need to watch over the other diners like a hawk to ensure I don't miss my chance. It's no fun. No burger is that good.

                                                              1. re: ktm

                                                                First come, first served! What a great idea! Never happen here though. The snarkiness works for them completely! Just look at the length of this thread and the amount of opinions. Yoon knows what he is doing. Creating the buzz. Very clever. But I am not taking the bait. Just not worth it to me.

                                                  2. re: MellieMac

                                                    The real problem with Father's Office is that some of us remember when it was just a really cool neighborhood pub.

                                                    No attitude at all.

                                                    I used to drink in there while waiting for a table at Babalu next door -- the hostess at Babalu would speed dial the FO bartender to tell you your table is ready.

                                                    1. re: PaulF

                                                      Now that's a good dining experience!

                                                  3. For those of you who need your FO fix but are too far from Santa Monica, note that Los Angeles Magazine recently did an article on FO and Sang Yoon, and mentioned that new branches will be opening up first in Culver City and then Newport Beach.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: amnesiac

                                                      God help us ALL!

                                                      1. re: amnesiac

                                                        Hopefully the Culver City one will be bigger! If they actually plan to make it as tiny as the one in SM, THEN I will be offended and think they are arrogant. Til then, I'll gladly wait to get into the SM location and eat my burger standing up - I think it's so good that I really don't mind this at all. And as it's not fine dining, I don't have the same expectations as I would have at some other nicer place like Rustic Canyon for example.

                                                        I wonder how many of the posters complaining about FO's wait and lack of space go out to brunch on the weekends, when the wait is ridiculously long for completely average food that can be made at home. I never go out to brunch because of this.

                                                        FO's burger is worth the crowd. And thank god they don't take reservations, because then it would become like Mozza, where the food may be great, but your chances of ever eating it at a decent time are terrible!

                                                        1. re: LisaStitch

                                                          I think your argument about Rustic Canyon applies even more to FO... It's a burger. It's assembly - not artful handiwork in the kitchen. IMHO, anyone with a decent knowledge of food and half an effort can make something as good, if not better, at home. Fire up the charcoal grill, lay out your sourced ingredients, assemble, pop open bottle after bottle of some great Belgians and enjoy with friends and family with elbow room to boot...

                                                          Like PaulF describes, back when FO was a nice little bar to sip down some good drinks while waiting for a seat at Babalu or other eateries close by, it was what a bar should feel like in my mind. Now, it's a different animal. I can't fault anyone who enjoys the place as this really comes down to a personal choice. I personally don't care for it because I also felt the pretense and arrogance by staff who seem to be a little too full of themselves at times - it's irritating when they exude the attitude of, "we have some great beers here so that makes me great - look at me standing behind the bar - I'm king of the world!"... couple that with the crowds which seems to "inspire" the attitude (I'm surprised the city of SM allows this many elbows to be knudging this many asses at one time) and it pretty anti-climactic.

                                                          FO - it's a bar, they serve some great beers, and the burgers are great as well. I like what I can do at my home alot better. Naja's has more great beer, their food ain't up to FO, but at least there's plenty of room for great local bands and the staff doesn't act like they can hover over the pier and walk on water...

                                                      2. I have been dieing to try this place since I read about it in Los Angeles and Food and Wine, just sounds amazing. Have to try it out next time I make the long haul to Santa Monica.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: jonahlee

                                                          you might be disappointed. last time we went 2/3 burgers were totally burnt. i don''t mean well done. i can walk there from my friend's but probably won't.

                                                          1. re: epop

                                                            Did you send them back? You should have, they're very good about correcting mistakes graciously.

                                                            1. re: hrhboo

                                                              it was a takeout order and it was late and so too late. what irked me is their
                                                              claim of perfection.
                                                              nothing new there in this town or world

                                                        2. i have to be honest here. i enjoy father's office. i find the burger and sweet potato fries are utterly delicious and i usually just kick back and have a great time. that said, in all the years that i've been going, i've never had a problem with a table until this last time. here's the thing. At FO, I'm accustomed to sharing tables with total strangers. I've met some really interesting people that way. I'll always share my table if I have the room, and I've found others to behave in the same way, that is, until recently when no less than three seperate tables of couples refused to share their table. I found it a little strange, and depressing, but dealt with it.

                                                          I guess for me FO is more of a communal experience than a one-on-one dining experience (a'la providence or something else).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: esculent

                                                            The Culver City FO is slated to open sometime this summer, and one of the employees told me that it's more than 3x the size of the SM one. All the more reason to love my job in Culver City!!

                                                          2. You either like it or you don't. Not really worth arguing regarding "arrogance" and "hip". It's a really decent burger. Not my favorite anymore, but the whole thing is worth trying once. That way everyone can make their own decision whether they want to put up with the whole process or not. I'm a beer geek and I know there's a lot of innacurracies with what S.Y. says about some beer related things - and even though the bartenders are supposedly trained and even have to brew their own beer before going on the floor - they aren't that knowledgeable after all. Regardless, I think the beer selection is pretty good for a place in LA that also serves really good food. The special salad - Frisee aux lardon is really good when they have it. I know that when I go - I go right when they open - walk right in and sit at a table or the bar - wait for friends or open a book and enjoy myself. Also, there's nothing wrong with "no substitutions" - it's not stupid. It's this guy's business and that's how he wants it. If you don't like it - don't go. I never understood the uproar about places with no substitutions. Similar to Hungry Cat - which I think has a better burger.

                                                            18 Replies
                                                            1. re: bigsleep

                                                              Ssshhh, it's hard enough to get a seat at HC as it is. Be quiet!

                                                              All kidding aside, I agree with your post entirely, especially the part about trying it once just to see if you can put up with the whole process. For instance, I like dim sum, but I don't like it enough to drive to SGV and then wait just so I can get round-eye service.

                                                              I like Father's Office, but I prefer the burger at Hungry Cat. They also have no substitutions, and a shorter beer list (though they do CRAFTSMAN and ALESMITH to go along with PABST BLUE RIBBON), but they've also got wine and cocktails, so maybe it's a push alcohol-wise, depending on what suits your fancy.

                                                              Burger vs burger and fries vs fries, they're both debatable and for many will be a coin-flip. I like the regular fries at HC and the sweet potato fries at FO..

                                                              I think we have to learn to start accepting Father's Office for what it is and not fault it for what it isn't. I understand that dining out is a total package experience, food-ambience-convenience-service and other intangibles always come into play and it wouldn't fair to FO's detractors to, for instance, say "if you took away the crowds..." since they could easily respond with "if you took away the burger..."

                                                              I'm more troubled with esculent's story about people not wanting to share tables. Because that has nothing to do with the substitutions or doneness of burger or the beer knowledge of the staff; that's us creating separation between ourselves, which is most certainly a form of arrogance.

                                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                Heck, PROVIDENCE will allow substitutions. I've never been to a fine dining or otherwise place that won't allow substitutions, unless it's a buffet. FO won't do it, even if you're ALLERGIC to something in the dish.

                                                                Now that's silly, and arrogant.

                                                                If you'd only heard some of the things Yoon has said to his distributors (beer suppliers) The guys is stuck up arrogant, and darn near beer ignorant.

                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                  He may or may not be arrogant.

                                                                  But they are a bar that serves food, not a fine dining establishment. They have every right not to allow subs, ketchup or anything else if they don't want to.

                                                                  And we have the choice of not eating there. If the burger (no substitutions) was bad, I wouldn't go. But as it is, I think it's fantastic.

                                                                  1. re: socal

                                                                    I think that is the part that people just forget... at it's CORE... it just a bar.. Like all bars... No kids are allowed. They will card you. There is no 'table service' to be expected. The kitchen is TINY... they just aren't equipted or staffed to handle 'subsitutions', etc... when they are just trying to get the stuff out to the tables...

                                                                    In all fairness, I do see why people would be put off by the place. Everytime I take a person there, I always do a mile long list of disclaimers... But in the end, I'm kinda glad there is a hurdle put in place. It means less grumpy people for me to have to deal with when I'm enjoying my burger... ;D

                                                                    --Dommy!

                                                                    1. re: socal

                                                                      Whatever happened to the old good service mantra of "the cutomer is always right"?

                                                                      Think of how you would feel if you got that kind of attitude anywhere else.

                                                                      Yoon has fooled people into believing that he is some sort of gourmet cooking God of perfection.

                                                                      His mantra is "You'll do what I TELL you."

                                                                      He inflates his ego by creating a situation in which people literally wait in long, uncomfortable (not to mention illegal) lines for food that they have to take according to his preference, not their own.

                                                                      He must get a woody staring out at his minute overcorwded empire, watching his servers mistreat customers.

                                                                      "No Ketchup for You!"

                                                                      "What, a __________ allergy? Well, I guess you can't have it then, can you?"

                                                                      What a crock.

                                                                      But hey, people love to eat at McDonald's and Bucca Di Beppo too, right?

                                                                      Yoon and Nozawa should get together and create a Japanese Pub. It wold be the kind of place where you stood in line for an hour, sat down, ate whatever was put in front of youwithout daring to ask for fear of the attitude, drank a beer you are told is good (even if the guy describing it has no clue what he's saying) and then were kciked out because the chef and bar guy were done with you.

                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                        I like burgers a lot but will probably never go to FO based on what I've heard. But I don't believe the customer is always right. Not in this day and age of people who are have entitlement mentality.

                                                                        I'd say hate them for perceived arrogance but not because they don't bow to every whim of every customer. I think good business and service is recognizing when to balance your needs as a business vs satisfying a customer. Kowtowing to every customer demand will ruin a good business. But inflexible service can also ruin a place.

                                                                        In this case, I think people have different ideas of where that line is for them in how FO handles their customers.

                                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                                          I strongly disagree that the customer is always right, very often customers are just plain wrong. Putting ketchup on that burger would be very wrong indeed! I do agree that people shouldn't order dishes when they are allergic to the ingredients. It's his restaurant, he can have it his way. If people want a burger their way they can go to Burger King.

                                                                          Why would Yoon open a Japanese pub? He isn't Japanese. And he didn't "create a situation in which people wait in line", the Fire Marshall did. People choose to wait in that line, they aren't forced to. They WANT to.

                                                                          1. re: hrhboo

                                                                            i've refrained from chiming in thus far because i haven't been to f.o. in years [pre-yoon]...but i have been following this thread because i was hoping to eventually try this famed burger everyone's always raving about.

                                                                            however, i do take issue with his somewhat nazi-like adherence to this much-debated no substitutions policy.

                                                                            agreed that the customer is NOT always right...too many people these days are just too damned difficult & demanding.

                                                                            and yes, also agreed that if you 'want it your way' and insist on being so particular & high-maintenance, these establishments are under no obligation to accommodate you and cater to your every whim.

                                                                            however, i think it's sometimes more complicated than just saying people shouldn't order dishes if they're allergic to ingredients.

                                                                            i have celiac disease so i can't eat foods that contain gluten, which includes anything made with wheat, barley rye, oats...the list goes on. so, obviously i can't eat a hamburger bun. [sadly i also can't wash down my burger with a nice cold beer either]. i certainly didn't ask for this condition. in fact, living like this sucks. i'm a carb-o-holic and i miss bread! but i'd still like to be able to enjoy a damn good burger and not have to deal with some dictator refusing to serve it to me without a bun. seriously, COME ON. if you know all i'm going to do is toss it, by insisting on serving it to me you're essentially purposely throwing away perfectly good food. it's wasteful, irresponsible, and just plain childish if you ask me.

                                                                            yoon is acting like a schoolyard bully. he's not even hungry, yet he steals some poor kid's lunch [let's say it's egg salad...which he doesn't even like]...just because he can.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              I sympathize with your condition and I would be extremely upset if I couldn't have bread so I really feel for you. The point I am trying to make is that there are plenty of places willing to serve you a burger without the bun, so it makes more sense to go to one of those rather than a place like Father's Office. And if you do decide to go to FO it isn't that hard to discard the bun. Wasteful, yes but certainly not worth getting worked up over.

                                                                              1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                Wow, would Yoon let you discard the bun? I imagine the bun might leave fragments of itself on the burger.

                                                                                I am so allergic to nuts that even a teeny tiny taint from a nut having touched something can make me ill. GHG might be that sensitive, too.

                                                                                Woud FO make a burger without the bun?

                                                                                Doubt it.

                                                                                1. re: Diana

                                                                                  Obviously, Diana, Yoon wouldn't be standing over your head making sure you consume the burger in it's entirety. This may surprise you, but I have discarded the bun many times without being shot, beaten or thrown out. It doesn't leave bread fragments on the burger because of the onion compote between the burger and the bun.

                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                    FYI Diana celiac disease is *NOT* like a nut or shellfish or whatever allergy. A food allergy is an anaphylactic allergic response-- proteins in the nut trigger a massive release of histamine --> swelling up, difficulty breathing, etc. at its worse. Gluten allergy is a chronic response in which the lining of your small intestine wears away in response to repeat, longterm, significant exposure to gluten. And these changes to your bowel lining are completely reversible once the gluten exposure is stopped. Plucking a bun off a hamburger is not a risk to a celiac patient.

                                                                                    Sometimes I wish this country were a little more like Europe-- the chef makes his dish the way he believe it tastes best-- that's his/her job, his "art" if you want to put it that way-- and it's not in the client's place to mess with that. Serious allergies are another matter. But for personal preference, if I'm out of the US, I go ahead and enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. Here, I will make requests sometimes if the restaurant is okay with it, but if they aren't filled exactly, I'm not comfortable making a fuss and waiting, so I'll do my best to remove whatever I didn't want to eat and enjoy my meal and the company of my friends.

                                                                                    And that is why, my friends, I don't have a problem with Father's Office! And if I ever develop one, I'm not going to complain about Yoon. If I don't like it, it's my problem and my preference, not his or anyone else who lines up for FO's!

                                                                                    1. re: amandine

                                                                                      I was going to post a quick reply about nitpicky modification requests in general, but it spiraled off topic and is now posted here:

                                                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/412209

                                                                                      Please post all off topic replies on this thread.

                                                                                      Mr Taster
                                                                                      -----------------------------------
                                                                                      Protect Chowhound
                                                                                      Boycott Avatars!
                                                                                      -----------------------------------

                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  Life's tough, deal with it. He won't give you a burger the way you want it, but he doesn't have to. Tough. Go to a place where you can get a burger according to your needs. There is room enough in LA for all kinds of diverse establishments with different policies and it makes life just a little more interesting. It's part of the experience.

                                                                                  For the people angry about the fact that it crowded, well guess what? It's a bar, bars are crowded. And I've never recieved anything other than the most friendly service.

                                                                                  God bless Yoon for his success and I hope it continues.

                                                                                3. re: hrhboo

                                                                                  Yoon would be the pub/beer part of the equation. Nozawa is japanese and can do the food.

                                                                                  Then again, it never occured to me that Yoon would HAVE to be Japanese. he isn't American, German, Czeck, Belgian, English or Irish ad he runs a beer spot and claims to be an "expert" on those beers., and makes a HAMBURGer.

                                                                                  The fire marshall made people wait in line because Yoon's old system of "cramming in" was potentially lethal. Not that he'd noticed it untl someone pointed it out to him.

                                                                                  People line up for all sorts of things. Studies of human behavoior show that some people will join a line even if they are not clear on what the line is for.

                                                                                  Look at Sprinkles cupcakes!

                                                                                  Does one have to match the ethnicity of one's business totally?

                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                    Again, people are choosing to line up (whether they are clear or not about what the line is for) and cannot be faulted for their own personal choice. I agree with Chefdavis, your beef (har har) with Yoon/FO seems to be a personal one having little to do with either the burger or the line.

                                                                                4. re: Diana

                                                                                  Diana,

                                                                                  You seem to have a very personal problem with Father's Office and you have made several posts in this thread to make your point, BUT

                                                                                  This is called Chowhound, NOT Servicehound or Dininghound.
                                                                                  The food comes first.

                                                                                  If you don't like the food that is fine, share your opinion, but otherwise MOVE ON.

                                                                                  My usual preference is to have a hamburger not a cheeseburger, but Father's Office burger is sublime more than 90% of the time with amazing fries and great aiolis (sp?). Any restaurant, taco shack, or bar that can achieve that batting average is hall of fame material.

                                                                                  There are plenty of places in the LA area where the "customer is always right" and they will do it your way, etc. GO THERE and when you do, I will happily take the space where you were standing/sitting at Father's Office.

                                                                                  As to the service, I have been more than 10 times and had somewhat rude service once. In LA, that should win an award. It is not the fault of the bartender if they will not remove the cheese or serve you ketchup. It is the owner's choice and if you don't approve of that choice,
                                                                                  guess what you can do......

                                                                                  1. re: Chefdavis

                                                                                    And I do! As I do with Sweet Lady Jane and other ego-maniac situations.

                                                                                    As we all should.

                                                                                    it's just sad that that place is so popular when tons of GREAT places with good food and service shut down every week due to lack of customers.

                                                                                    But alas, it is the nature of the business.

                                                                        2. Try requesting anything be left off of that burger, to your liking, and you'll see the snootiness of that place.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: fergusmccool

                                                                            But to play devil's advocate, try doing the same thing at Santouka with their shio ramen, and you'll see the same thing. What some consider snootiness, others might call focus.

                                                                            I understand and respect the disdain for Father's Office, but I don't understand why people are so worked up about it. I mean, I don't bemoan the fact that Cheesecake Factory is crowded. I'm not out to evangelize them, and it makes the places that *I* like to go less crowded.

                                                                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                              I applaud Yoon for his business strategy. What better way to make more profit per hour than to completely strike out allowances? It's not like that wasn't a risk for a restaurant owner to take. And if people still come in droves, have a good time, and come back in droves, even when there are hundreds of other burger-beer places in Los Angeles, I don't see what the problem is. He has his formula and it works.

                                                                          2. I have got to try that burger and some new ales! Anyway, those of you that haven't read the linked article may enjoy it and the linked Sang Yoon recipes!

                                                                            http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: sel

                                                                              We went to FO last week and much to my surprise, when we ordered burgers the bartender asked how would we like them! I was so happy there was no line to get in and that it was as if the bartender was waiting for us to order, I was dumbfounded. Maybe they are paying attention to Chowhound or other outside influences. In any event they may not be the best but they are addictive. And you can't deny the influence, their style of burger has become ubiquitous. It's just a great, great place.

                                                                              1. re: keaton

                                                                                You can always order the burger cooked to your chosen degree of doneness.

                                                                                1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                  Back in the day, you could only have it medium rare, but i did notice the last time i went that they were asking for tempurature. i was kinda disappointed! the nazi'istic idea of forcing everyone to have the burger the way the chef intended tickled me.
                                                                                  then again i come from a serving background where patrons would order their filet mignon well done and i would have to smile and be accomodating when they would inevitably ask for steak sauce to pour all over it. maybe i have issues...or maybe americans are spoiled brats. or both?

                                                                                  1. re: Hapafish

                                                                                    I was there last night. Three of us and we ordered a medium, a medium rare and a rare and all were perfectly cooked to order. All told, our wait in the line and for a table was no more than a half an hour which I thought was completely reasonable during prime dining/drinking hours on a Thursday night. Plus, we had perfectly friendly service. Made me happy that I live so close by!

                                                                                    1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                      mollyomormon: a question for you (as you live nearby, and presumably are something of a regular at FO?) : does one feel 'recognized' as a regular there by other regular patrons, and if so, is it that much easier to hover and perhaps even get 'come hither' subtle nods/gestures from the regulars who, upon preparing to leave, are willing to give a felllow-regular their spot? Or maybe another way to put it: does the person presently occupying the table have a say in whom they wish to pass the table along to, or does the 'hoverer' nearest to the de-camping table simply exercise a 'survival-of-the -fittest' process analogous to a car in a parking lot swooping in the fastest for an opening parking spot? Or put a third way: when you are ready to vacate your table, do you scan the room for other regualr/friendly faces upon whom to grandfather your seat, or is the milieu at FO such that one simply drains their glass, heads for the door, and gives nary a thought as to whom is scrambling for the table? I know I should just go and observe/participate for myself, but I try to "read the f***ing manual", as the saying goes, before attempting to electrocute myself :-). Thanks...

                                                                                      1. re: silence9

                                                                                        I usually just ask if I may sit. People in bars are pretty friendly and approachable most of the time, probably due to the wondrous social lubricant effects of alcohol.

                                                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                                                          I ususally just ask people if they are wrapping up. I'll also ask people if they mind if i share a table with them. Most of the time people are happy to share and I've met some great people in LA that way. Just remember to return the favor once you get the table all to yourself!

                                                                                          1. re: esculent

                                                                                            Ditto on the two answers above. Last night as we walked in, we saw a table where two guys were about to finish their bears and sort of hovered. I don't think it helps or hurts your chances being a regular...more helps to be friendly and probably a little assertive :).

                                                                                      2. re: Hapafish

                                                                                        I don't remember that day. I've been going to FO in its current incarnation for as long as it's been opened, or so I thought, and they've always asked, if I haven't already told them, how I want my burger cooked.

                                                                                        1. re: Hapafish

                                                                                          And another good idea (just to spread the good karma) is to look around when you're about to vacate your table, see if there's a party that's been standing around for a while, and try to make eye contact and offer your table. The worst part about having to wait for tables is that awkward moment when two groups want the same table and no one wants to be rude and no one wants to be a pushover

                                                                                  2. Wow, so much controversy over FO!

                                                                                    Personally, I haven't been there in couple of years, but I remember the burger was one of the best I'd ever had. It was excruciatingly crowded, with people hovering over other diners to get a table, so I understand why some people are frusterated.

                                                                                    But at the same time, I don't blame the owner for running it the way it is... it works for him, and it shows that if the food is good enough, people will come. I've had plenty of overpriced, mediocre food in LA, so I appreciate any food at its finest... and I do consider FO to be one of the best burgers around. I will definitely go back there sometime... or better yet, wait for the Culver City one.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: spicychow

                                                                                      I went to FO on Friday night around 7:30. Because of a few disappointing burgers, I hadn't had a burger there in over a year. I wanted to give it another chance and have my girlfriend try it for the first time. We waited no more than 3 minutes to get inside. We ordered a burger, medium rare, and a basket of sweet potato fries. Showing the influence of CH, I ordered a Craftsman 1903. We noticed a few open seats, but all were being saved for someone else. It was nice to see that they were indeed being saved as they were taken by people coming back with beers a few minutes after our asking. Soon though, the pony wall/table that separates the entrance way from the first tables opened up and that was perfect for two people. I had a great seat before the burger came. I was happy. The fries came first. These have always been sublime and Friday, it was no different. The aioli was chunkier than I remember but tasted the same, which is great. I used to bring ketchup in for the fries because I think it cuts the richness of the fries and burger. I didn't this time, and I would recommend it as it's nice to switch from aioli to ketchup.
                                                                                      The burger came a few minutes later. In hindsight, I'd like to have my fries first here everytime. There are so many for two people that you don't risk running out of fries before finishing the burger.
                                                                                      The burger. It was every bit as good as the first time I had it. Every bite was glorious. The meat was perfectly cooked, thick, flavourful, and had juices dripping out with every bite. It was the star of the burger, like it should be. The bacon onion compote and cheese mixture was the perfect complement to the wonderful ground beef. It didn't come close to overwhelming the meat. The bun was also well proportioned. I'm getting hungry writing this. I felt like this is the incarnation of the burger that is deserving of all the praise it gets. I'm back on the horse, table stalking be damned.

                                                                                      Also, FWIW, I've never encountered rude service at FO. I also don't try to have them do things that I know they can't/won't.

                                                                                    2. I have to say I had been wanting to try this place for sometime, and finally got my chance when my cousin came to town. I really was disappointed actually, I think their was way too much hype, and I was overall letdown. I like the beer selection, and the fries were pretty tasty, but would have preferred them with some malt vinegar, or even ketchup, but it was the burger that really disappointed me. While I have to admit it was well cooked (medium rare as I like it) and huge, I actually found too much other flavor in their, I couldn't really enjoy the meat. Especially the cheese, which was too salty for my taste, and instead of allowing me to enjoy it had me drinking huge swigs of beer to try and get the salt out of my mouth. Not only that, but I do think the F.O. stands for F***O**, and Yoon is always right. I would personally like a little more give and take, and not have to stand like a hawk trying to get a table or even a place to sit, after having had to wait outside in line to get in. I honestly think the hype is way overblown fro this place.

                                                                                      Actually I wrote a more thorough review at my blog. http://www.whaleofatale.net/wordpress...

                                                                                      1. Went to Father's Office last night, as a friend of mine was craving a burger and beer. I'm of the opinion that the Pug Burger is the best in town, and rather than pay to confirm that belief, I ordered the ribs which were quite delicious. Charred on the outside and then moist and succulent to the bone. I even used the excess sauce as an alternative dip for my sweet potato fries.

                                                                                        My buddy and I were lucky. We walked in, saw a group just leaving a table and swooped it up. We saw a group at the bar much larger than us shrug "oh well" and we offered to swap their bar spot for our table. In the end, it worked out for everyone. We were able to sit right in front of the taps and the TVs.

                                                                                        1. try the softshell crabs there while in season (now) yum!