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'Sup with Father's Office? Downhill alert

Friday evening experience not so good. Waited outside for 10 minutes in line. Don't mind that part, but when we went in, there was a group of girls who had several open seats at their table. We asked if we could join and they had the audacity to say no. They were having a "private party." You're kidding me, right? A private party at F.O? What, is this like some Hollywood velvet rope place now? The beauty of F.O. has always been the open, communal seating, and, of course, the burger (I'll get to that in a second).

Eventually, we find two counter top seats behind the mean girls and take them, but not before letting the bouncer know, since we obviously won't be the first or the last people to be thwarted from taking the open seats.

Ordered famous burger, sweet potato fries and white anchovies. Loved the latter two, fries have never been better, but burger was pretty disappointing.

1) They've changed the bread. It's now served on some not even toasted thick sandwich bread. What happened to the once crispy bun?
2) All I could taste were carmelized onions. Blue cheese was totally lost on it.
3) We ordered medium rare and got it more like medium rare to medium.

Such a bummer. Not sure I'll be going back. Not for burger anyway.

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  1. I love Father's Office but the last two times I've gone they've been out of the sweet potato fries! WTF? When I can get them, though, there's no better fry in LA. The mussels (which they've also been out of the last two times) are amazing and the duck confit salad is pretty delicious too if you're looking for alternatives to the burger.

    Oh, and not sharing tables when it's crowded is such bad table karma. Super lame and I'm suprised that the bouncer didn't make them share.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      I actually like their regular fries better and I've had sweet potato fries that are better at a lot of other places. Personally, my favorite sweet potato fries are from Jerry's Famous Deli though I rarely, if ever, go there since the only thing worth mentioning there are the fries.

      1. re: mstinawu

        Different strokes, I guess. I really don't enjoy their regular fries all that much.

        1. re: mstinawu

          You mustnot have tried JFD's "Midnight Madness" dessert. That, and the Matzoh ball soup (not the best, but I LIKE mega giant wads of Matzoh, however I figure out to spell it) are really the only reasons to go there.

      2. I've had nothing but good experiences there recently.

        I am not sure what justifies a "downhill alert" here -- because some girls wouldn't share their table with you??

        I mean, one mediocre burger does not a "downhill" make. Not in my book anyway.

        4 Replies
        1. re: NeNePie

          They changed their buns out for tasteless sandwich bread. Buns are an integral part of the burger. That suggests a permanent shift, not an accidental overcooking or even the fact they slopped on too many carmelized onions.

          1. re: Baby Ruth

            I think that might have been an anomoly since I go probably once a week and the buns were still the same as on last weekend. I'll probably go this week to make sure because I would be really bummed if that's a permanent change.

            1. re: Baby Ruth

              Maybe they ran out of buns? It's a possibility. Frikkin annoying that they won't let the customer change the burger, but then they go and do it.

              1. re: Diana

                i didn't even think of that. excellent point. the whole point for no substitutions was that it was perfect as is, right?
                hard to believe they ran out at 6:30pm on a Friday night ... only 90 min after opening.

          2. I'm sure it's a coincidence, but my last FO burger was a carmelized onion BOMB. It was all I could taste and I've lost track of how many burgers I've had there. One of the cooks there must really, really dig the onions.

            Everything else was great, though.

            3 Replies
            1. re: SaltCod

              The Old Man must be to busy opening up his new place in Culver City!

              1. re: Burger Boy

                I went with three friends Friday 3/14. Among us, we had 4 burgers and two orders of sweet potato fries. Everybody loved their food. My burger, ordered medium rare, was cooked between medium rare and medium and came on the usual french baguette/roll that I've always had. The patty was delicious by itself and perfect with the arugula, onion, cheese accompaniment. As far as I'm concerned, there hasn't been a recent downhill trend and to say a place has gone downhill based on one burger and some girls not wanting you to sit next to them is a stretch, to say the least.

              2. 3) We ordered medium rare and got it more like medium rare to medium.

                At FO, I always ask for "medium medium-rare" which is half way between rare & medium-rare. That way if they miss on the upside I'm usually just at true medium rare & on the downside: rare to medium rare.

                YMMV

                3 Replies
                1. re: evans

                  Halfway between rare and medium-rare would be rare medium-rare. Medium medium-rare would be closer to medium.

                  1. re: nosh

                    What is halfway between medium-rare and medium?

                    1. re: Josh90004

                      Nothing is halfway between. I think it's a bit naive to think that the kitchen at F.O. will cook a hamburger with this much attention to detail. It's a $12 hamburger. Now, if we were talking about the steaks at Cut, then I might believe the kitchen could pull of this fine distinction, but a hamburger at F.O. is a far cry from wagyu beef.

                2. i was there about 2 weeks ago and the burger was the same - though the bun was not toasted like usual. my guess is that they have a new and sloppy cook in the kitchen. everything else was the same - burger doneness/toppings/sweet potato fries.

                  sorry about the mean girls - that is really gross. people can be absurd. especially in santa monica. hopefully culver city will be better.

                  1. I went on Sunday and had a great meal. There was no line -- we just walked in and sat at whichever table we wanted. Service was attentive and helpful. The burger was as good as always, though I would have preferred a touch more cheese. The sweet potato fries were outstanding (ketchup would have really taken them to another level, but that's a small quibble). The steak salad was also very good. I had no complaints, no mean girls, no bun substitutions, no inattentive bartenders, no problems.

                    1. Is the new FO in Culver City open yet? This is posted around noon on Tues, Mar. 25.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosh

                        It was not open when I drove by on Sunday (March 23)