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Father's Office, What's the big deal?

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Went there for the first time ever based on the postings here, the $11 Blue Cheese and only burger on the menu was ehh, the beer selection was no better than going to the Yard House, & more expensive for their IPA's. It's a busy place but.....for the price I just don't get it.

Went with a friend, 2 IPA's (India Pale Ale, Stronger type beer served in goblets), 2 burgers, basket of sweet potato tasteless fries, and what I thought was actually very good were the tapas of olives w/ almonds in their special marinade...$55 bucks.

For that same amount I could have had more beer & food @ the Yard House...aka
"Beer Lovers' Paradise" Never been disappointed with any food item I've ordered @ the Yard House. IMHO F.O. just doesn't live up to the hype! You hounds mislead & disappointed me on this recommendation!

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  1. I happen to like the burger and the beer selection. That's not a statement relative to what you can get at The Yard House -- I've never been there. However, I think I will stick up for Chowhound by saying that the board has clearly been very divided on Father's Office. For all the praise that is lavished, there are people willing to tear them down, too.

    1. Which branch did you go to -- the original on Montana or the new location at the Helms Bakery?

      The word on CH about the new site has been very mixed, and I'm putting off my first visit until they get the wrinkles out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: maxzook

        Went to the original location, S.M.

      2. "the beer selection was no better than going to the Yard House,"

        Sorry.

        I find Yard house to be a big sloppy mess. 80% of their beers are completely worthless in my book.

        The beer list at Fathers office is smaller and much much better. to me, if you dont have great specialty microbrews (craftsman, stone, alesmith, etc) or belgian-style ales, then you really arent a beer lovers paradise.

        A beer lovers paradise is Lucky Devil's, Najas, FO, Lucky Baldwins, etc.

        Quality over quantity!

        Also,

        I am sorry, but yard house is like Cheesecake Factory combined with Elephant bar. It is not particularly chowish in my opinion. I am sure most fans of BJ's brewhouse and Yard House will not appreciate FO.

        10 Replies
        1. re: jlrobe

          Where are all these other places you mention?

          1. re: Ollie

            Ollie

            Tompkins Square (Manchester at Lincoln near LMU and Bristol Farms)
            Lucky Devils (In the heart of hollywood on hollywood blvd)
            3rd stop (on west third st. near west hollywood, just west of la cienega)
            Boneyard Bistro (Ventura strip in the valley)
            Najas (total dive bar on the redondo beach pier) [burger not great]
            Lucky Baldwins (Old town pasadena) [burger not great]
            Lucky Baldwins and Najas do not have FO quality burgers.

            Library ale house aint bad either, but their burger just doesn't do it for me. That one is on main st in SaMo

            Also, Hungry Cat has GREAT cocktails, and 4-5 seasonal specialty beers, and a fantastic burger. That is located on sunset and vine.

            Sorry to get on you about Yard House. I think Yard House serves its purpose, but I still believe people who really love yard house will not get the places I have mentioned above.

            1. re: jlrobe

              Thanks, I enjoy beer, I enjoy Stone, Bear Republic, and I'm curious about this "Rogue Hazelnut" this hound below recommends. I'll check some of these places out. F.O. I guess you love it or hate it! but I'm willing to give it another chance. The Boneyard Bistro is Closer to me, I'm in the west valley. But I don't mind traveling for good food & drink. Thanks,
              Ollie

              1. re: Ollie

                "Thanks, I enjoy beer, I enjoy Stone, Bear Republic, and I'm curious about this "Rogue Hazelnut""

                Ollie, I hope you go to the places I mentioned and visit another thread I have on beer. There is fantastic places in LA to get beer. Dont sell yourself short at Yard House. Look around, and find the great beer LA has to offer.

                go online right now and look at boneyard bistros beer list. If that list doesnt make you run out and eat there, I dont know what will.

                PS: They have mostly bottles compared to FO's flawless tap system.

                1. re: jlrobe

                  but the beers Boneyard has! What a great selection! Some of that stuff is hard to get on draught.

                  Plus, it isn't a bar, it's a sit down BBQ/Bistro, so you can reserve, get your dang table, and order at liesure.

                  Finally, you can ask for your food to your tastes. Aaron has no problem making me a burrito with the fixins but no meat or portabello. I ask for the amazing baked beans, insread. He and his staff deliver it with a smile. It's not on the menu, but it's amazing.

                  Plus, you can put dang ketchup on your burger.

          2. re: jlrobe

            I have to stand up for BJ's. They gets hit a lot on food and it's not the greatest chow in the world but I think it's pretty good for the price. However, they brew their own and that sets them apart from every place you mentioned. You may not be overly impressed with their regular line-up (which I think is pretty good) but they kick out some excellent specialty brews. I thought their IPA and Maibock were particularly good and I think their brewers do an outstanding job of offering beers for both the craft beer heads as well as the casual drinkers. As someone who homebrews (and has gotten tips and advice from BJ's brewers) and likes to support local brewers I'm grateful for BJ's.

            1. re: tofuburrito

              I have to say I was a bit taken back by the hype for FO - just reminds me of the hype that happens with every new restaurant that opened up from Mozza to Comme Ca to whatever.

              Never been to Yard House - haven't find a beer I liked yet (maybe that'll change when I visit Belgium this summer). But I will have to agree with Tofuburrito that I found BJ to be quite adequate. Making generalization about chains and people going to BJ's not liking FO doesn't seem to be in the spirit of chowhound - good chow can be find everywhere from the lowest of places like taco trucks to a 3 star Michelin restaurant.

              FWIW, I would love to try out FO's burgers - love blue cheese, gruyere and arugula, so in my mind it tastes good already. Love sweet potatoes fries (anyone tried the frozen ones you can get at Whole Foods? They are quite good). BUT, despite being able to bring my 9 year old to fancy restaurants around the world, I can't bring him to a FO for another 9 years.

              1. re: notmartha

                Actually, he has to wait another 12 years!

                1. re: notmartha

                  FYI- I was there last weekend around 2:00 pm when it was not packed/ busy and I noticed a family with children on the benches in the "Let's be Frank" area across the way eating their take out from FO. Not sure if I would feel comfortable using that area to eat FO's foods but they all looked content eating their burgers and fries there...

                  1. re: LaLa Eat

                    Well, it's been a while since I was last carded (the legal age then was 18). ;)

                    Guess if we can't find a babysitting option we'll have to eat out in the streets, but it will be kind of messy.

            2. Actually, the beer selection at FO trumps The Yard House for a lot of beer drinkers. The Yard House has 250 taps, but most of them are middling beers for serious drinkers. Father's Office regularly gets taps of rare beer from Russian River, Craftsman, Stone, Rogue, AleSmith, etc. For example, while YH might have Rogue's mega-popular Dead Guy Ale, FO will have Rogue's ultra limited Brewer Ale or Hop Heaven on tap. FO will have Russian River's Perdition or Damnation and YH will have nothing from them. Stuff like that.

              It's worth it for the serious drinker. Plus the food at Yard House is like a Cheesecake Factory vibe. Eh...

              1. Anybody have an idea of how busy the SM location will be tonight?

                1. I think the burgers at the Counter are better.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: noshie

                    I have to disagree about the counter. The buns there suck. Very thin, and everything falls out of the burger, and into a big mess. I've had better bacon at Chili's.

                    1. re: polarcyclone

                      I agree. The meat in The Counter's burgers is totally flavorless and has an odd mushy texture.

                      Had lunch at Father's Office on Saturday. Burger with both kinds of fries were excellent as ever, as was the duck confit salad.

                    1. I came. I ate. Father's Office delivered.

                      A+.

                      70 bucks for 3 people, 3 burgers 2 fries, 2 beers and 1 coke.

                      1. are you kidding me.....comparing office to yard house?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rickym13

                          If somebody wants to go to some chain over FO, god bless. Luckily we are not all made with the same taste buds or it would take even longer to get a FO burger.

                          1. re: sloanedone

                            I would choose a FO burger over anything at Yard House anyday. It's not that I'm caught up in the FO "hype" or anything (the wait can be annoying, and you really have to duke it out for seats sometimes); the burger is just THAT tasty. I suppose it doesn't agree with everyone's taste palate, but I just can't imagine how anyone can NOT enjoy the burger. Just went to the Culver City location over the weekend, and I think I like it better than the Montana location: more parking spots and a sleeker bar.

                        2. I actually enjoyed the teriyaki burger at the yard house. But that's just a particular fetish I have towards burgers with teriyaki sauce and pineapples I suppose (also love the islands version and its the only food I can even eat at Jerry's Deli). Its always under-done though (and I order them medium rare usually). Yardhouse is more of convienience when I'm stuck near a theme-mall that has one in them though. F.O. is more of a destination.

                          However, I do not like their beers, they taste off to me...I suspect water'd down or maybe the taps aren't cleaned, F.O.'s just blows them away in this department. Maybe if I wanted a pint of Mickey's I suppose, but that never did it. They do carry Rogue Hazelnut which is what I usually get there.

                          They also blow them away in the Burger department, the F.O. burger is just so good. That onion-gruyere compote is just so awesome as is the beef.

                          I have never had their sweet potato fries be "tasteless". They always had that cinamon sugar crust on them and the dipping sauce, which is good.

                          1. OK, I'll admit that I am no supr FO fan (as people on here know) but please, the Yard House a "beer lover's paradise"? No way. It is kinda gross, and just not a beer geek's firend. Have you tried Naja's Place? THAT is a beer lvoer's paradise. Also consider Stuffed Sandwich, Lucky Baldwin's, 3rd Stop, Mc G's and more.

                            Lots of taps do not a paradise makes. how well they're kept and what they pour is more important.

                            I'd rather go to Lucky B's, with fewer taps and better beer, than yardhouse.

                            naja's is currently tops, with a HUGE seleciton of beer. Food is "eh", but we're talking BEER, right?

                            For beer and food, try Lucky D's, Boneyard Bistro (Aaron knows his beer), Pure Luck (near scoops, yeah!)

                            1. Its a trendy place that has decent food and a great selection of beers. Its a combination that can't really go wrong.

                              Its hard to find the same quality surprisingly here in LA.

                              ----
                              UsDiscuss.com - General LA Message Boards

                              1. man I just went there yesterday and I'm craving a burger so bad

                                1. what's the big deal? is right!....even though they have a good selection of microbrews, they are over priced, and their incredible burger just isn't, and as mentioned in a separate post, service sucks...it sucks a lot...a lot a lot

                                  my idea of enjoying a good ice cold brewski and a delicious burger does not take place in anyones office, especially not father's office

                                  fyi, most if not all and then some of the brews served at f.o. can be purchased at whole foods and even some vons markets, a six pack averages between 10 and 12 bucks, and no lousy snobby service

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: fgrade

                                    Beers at a bar cost 8 bucks and I can buy the same thing at vons for 1.25, what's your point?

                                    I think their burger is awesome. You are entitled to your opinion :) Hell I might go back tomorrow.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      hell, knock yourself out....hell, why wait for tomorrow what you can do today

                                      and not all beers are eight bucks

                                      my opinion of that place is as a whole, i've paid way more than just eight bucks for a beer, and will gladly pay more, over and over again, but not at a place where service sucks, and where a burger is just alright

                                      so read my first comment, my point is NO LOUSY SERVICE, NO SNOBBY SERVICE, any more questions?

                                      1. re: fgrade

                                        I've never had bad or snobby service at FO, in either location.

                                        1. re: fgrade

                                          I thought service was fine when I went. The doorman was actually beyond nice, I was quite impressed with him, as was the food server.

                                          I'd go tomorrow because it's a pretty considerable drive for me, so I'd only go if I had business on the westside.

                                          1. re: fgrade

                                            Here here! Good for those who like this place, but I'm glad that there is a diversity of opinions so that others can go with a balanced view of people's experiences...... Life's too short for iffy attitudes, so customers beware!

                                            1. re: fgrade

                                              I agree with your first point. I HATE lousy, snobby service.

                                              but I was flummoxed by the Yardhouse comment. My husband calls it the "Beer Novice's Nirvana".

                                              1. re: fgrade

                                                I'll chime and agree with those who've always had good service. Everytime I've been to the FO in SM, managed to get a seat at the bar w/in 30 minutes, bartender was incredibly helpful at suggesting beers to try, food arrived promptly and OH SO GOOD. I love that burger. Would love to branch out to other things on the menu, but in the past by the time I'd decided to stand in that line, it was because I had a serious craving for that burger going on! Maybe with the new one open, I'll go more often and branch out.

                                            2. re: fgrade

                                              "what's the big deal? is right!....even though they have a good selection of microbrews, they are over priced"

                                              Fgrade, I couldn’t disagree with you more.

                                              I went to a new and supposedly cool place in santa monica called South which is located on wilshire. It was like $6 for a freakin corona. I can get 21 pack for like $15 at a mexican market near my place, or at costco for 18$. Not only is Father’s Office a better and cooler atmosphere that you are paying for, you are also paying for the meticulous tap system they have there. Not all tap systems are created equal. FO beer is so darn fresh, its amazing. You arent buying bottles, but beer on tap! Do you have any idea why Chimay is always in a bottle and rarely on tap? Its because it is so darn hard to find on tap and EXPENSIVE. It is usually not economical to carry it, but FO typically does. FO also has Craftman. Is is so difficult to get craftsman because they simply refuse to deliver to many places far away from pasadena (Najas doesn’t even get it!). FO on the west side gets it. Also, Chimay IN A BOTTLE (large bottle) costs 7-8 bucks from TRADER JOES! If you get it from bevmo it is 8-9 dollars, and 10 at bristol farms. If TAP Chimay costs 9-10$, that’s because its expensive, not because of a huge markup.

                                              Just think about all those extremely hard to find beers (AND ON TAP) that trader joes doesn’t carry. Maybe you think that russian river on tap in a nice environment isnt any better than drinking a corona in a dive bar, but many people value that highly and will pay a fair price for it. People who arent beer lovers don’t really get it. Beer can be like wine. Just because 2-buck chuck is cheap, doesn’t mean a fine crafted wine should cost the same. I am sorry but the markup on wine in a nice winebar is much higher than FO’s beer taps, but somehow that is more tolerable. Sure, a BOTTLE of corona is marked up from 1 buck to 6$, but a tap of grand cru alesmith is market up from 6$ to $10. Not all that bad.

                                              Sorry for the rant, but this is a pet peeve of mine.

                                              1. re: jlrobe

                                                I'll be sure to try a few of these beers tomorrow. Got anymore from FO you want to recommend?

                                            3. Ollie, you're not alone. I've never been to FO, but I actually like the Yard House's happy hour food. It's gosh darn good food esp @ those prices.

                                              YH is one of the few chains I find decent and ONLY go there during happy hour. And for the person who mentioned Islands...mmm I love them Island seasoned fries w/ranch!

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                Can't agree with Yard House food is equal or better than FO's but I definitely can agree with the Yard House having some advantages in its beer list. Not every beer needs to be a Belgian or craft brew. I definitely go to FO to satiate my craving for belgian and hard to get brews but there's also a place for YH where you can get like 200 beers AND watch the lakers game without moving your butt.

                                                1. re: lakeshow318

                                                  "I definitely can agree with the Yard House having some advantages in its beer list"

                                                  I cant think of a single advantage really. Having 120 different types of lager really doesnt add to the selection for me personally, but I know a lot of beer drinkers who LOVE lagers and are very particular about them. For me, I take the stance of stone brewing company in san diego, yellow fizz is yellow fizz.

                                                  At any rate, I know my brother and some of my friends from back home would LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE to see a yard house in their cities over an FO.

                                                  The only advantage Yard House has is
                                                  1) You can get a table
                                                  2) You can watch sports

                                                  1. re: jlrobe

                                                    I've watched many a Laker Playoff game at the SM location with a great beer and burger... I actually like the mood better durring those times when everyone is watching the little TV cheering together! :)

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                      "I've watched many a Laker Playoff game at the SM location with a great beer and burger..."

                                                      Man, I am so blind. I go there for the beer first, burger second, and sports a distant third. I had no idea. hehehe.

                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                        Do they turn up the sound for those games? I was there during an NFL play off game once, and it wasn't much of a sports experience.

                                                        1. re: karamazov

                                                          Not much... But I'm used to seeing Soccer Games in sports bars... where you can't hear anything the annoucer says, but instead follow the mood of the crowd...

                                                          --Dommy!

                                                      2. re: jlrobe

                                                        exactly. that's pretty much what i was implying. i would never watch a sports game at FO though. can't really see the plethora of hipsters getting me in the mood. also can't drink 12 FO beers prolly either.

                                                  2. "For that same amount I could have had more beer & food"

                                                    more never equals better.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: TBird

                                                      Never say never; did you mean quality over quantity?

                                                    2. I agree completely. And one thing that truly bothered me about Father's Office "amazing" $11 hamburger is their "No Ketchup" policy. Give me a break. I realize that when a 5-star restaurant chef serves you, you should never "salt" the dish, (add condiments) before tasting it, because it's considered rude, or assumes it's not already perfect. However, a hamburger without Ketchup (or at least that option)? That's no hamburger!. If I'm dragged along there again, I will smuggle in my own.

                                                      For a good hamburger in LA, you're better off at Barney's Burgers on San Vicente in Brentwood (also all over the SF Bay Area). For great hamburgers and spirits, when you find yourself in San Diego, make the trip to Rocky's in Pacific Beach. It's a a small sports bar with AMAZING hamburgers and a great beach environment (on Ingram St.).It's even worth a special trip!

                                                      19 Replies
                                                      1. re: Rosanp

                                                        InNOut hamburgers don't have ketchup either ;)

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          What's in all those little red plastic packets that come with my burger and fries then?

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            But they have ketchup as an option if you want it, that's what I meant. Of course they shouldn't put it on for you, but it should be an option. At Father's Office if you ask for it, they look at you with disdain and reply: "We don't have ketchup," as though you were rude to even ask.

                                                            1. re: Rosanp

                                                              meh. I see your point don't get me wrong, but it's not something that personally bothers me.

                                                            2. re: ns1

                                                              Actually, if you order it old-fashioned style at InNOut they replace the "sauce" with ketchup and mustard.

                                                              1. re: chowbee

                                                                Interesting. News to me. I always get extra sides of spread, much to my waistline's chagrin

                                                                1. re: chowbee

                                                                  Hey Chowbee...and I thought I knew all the codes! That's a good one!

                                                              2. re: Rosanp

                                                                "And one thing that truly bothered me about Father's Office "amazing" $11 hamburger is their "No Ketchup" policy"

                                                                I responded to this on another thread. There are lots of places in LA to get a fantastic burger and fantastic beer in my opinion. FO is not the only game in town. I dont mind the policies, but if people do, there are options. Hungry cat, 25 degrees, bowery, lucky devils are all in hollywood and all have great beer/cocktails and burgers.

                                                                1. re: jlrobe

                                                                  I went last night for the first time to the new location; I had been a loyal patron of the Santa Monica F.O but jumped ship after having to send overcooked meat back 3 times on one vist. They never got it right and frankly after fighting for a table and going through the whole culinary combat that is F.O, I turned my back. If the food isn't 100% on point, I'm not going to fight for it. The new location is back to the original standard. Hubby and I shared the curry mussels and the burger. The burger was cooked to perfection; the fries were crisp and hot. The mussels were fine although when Jitlada's slinging mussels 3 times the size for 3 bucks less I wouldn't order them again. The F.O martini was the discovery of the night. We got there early (just before 6) and scored a table no problem -- by the time we left however there was a line around the block. My only real complaint about last night would be the Frat boy contingent whining about cheese, asking for "light" beers and requesting that the volume on the TV be turned up...got nothing against you guys but it is what it is and if you don't like it, please go elsewhere.

                                                                2. re: Rosanp

                                                                  I dislike not having the option of Ketchup. I like ketchup on my burger. So sue me. Although, thinking about it, ketchup and bleu cheese? maybe not so good.

                                                                  A nice mango Chutney however mmmmmmmmm..

                                                                  Still, people should have the option.

                                                                  FO could save snoot and develop a line of "super gourmet" ketchups and charge a good 75 cents to a $1 per little cup. Then they'd still be all falootin about the burger.

                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                    I think the reason why Father's Office creates such a stir with their no substitutions policy is that the burger has traditionally been a fully customizable food, similar to an omelette. This is the primary reason why places like The Counter do such brisk business despite serving drastically inferior burgers. (By the way, I think The Counter is decent but it's not the apogee of the hamburger world by a long shot.)

                                                                    Father's Office does not offer you that choice. There aren't a variety of toppings. You can't get cheddar instead of the gruyere/bleu cheese combination. You don't get a choice to add BBQ sauce or onion rings to the burger. You may not have it with a honey wheat bun or wrapped in lettuce leaves if you're cutting carbohydrates out of your diet.

                                                                    But there is a reason for this -- despite the burger being the most famous dish Sang Yoon has created, Father's Office is not a burger joint and it was never intended to be one. It is one of many options there. In addition, the place is just not set up to do custom orders. A bartender, not a waiter, takes your orders at the original location. Bar backs deliver food to your table. There is no room for a waitstaff that has the proper training to offer the atttentive service that a restaurant has. In short, there are myriad reasons why customizing the burger and other dishes is really not possible at the original location of Father's Office.

                                                                    The ketchup issue is separate since having a bottle of Heinz at the tables is very easy. That is clearly a personal choice by the chef. It's not entirely clear why he doesn't offer that. Perhaps being Cordon Bleu trained and coming from a kitchen like Michael's he doesn't want to own a place that has ketchup at the tables and sawdust on the floor. That's *his* option and as a customer I know I appreciate the choice he made.

                                                                    Last, the bacon onion compote most assuredly has some sort of tomato product in it, whether it be tomato paste or (gasp!) even ketchup. Adding ketchup would be superfluous so I never got the argument to begin with. I'm sure if you asked for extra compote on the side they would go for that.

                                                                    And I hate to call you out personally, and I certainly don't mean to insult or start static, but in the interest of fair reporting I think you should reveal that there is something about this place that rubbed you the wrong way and you have taken every opportunity to bash it since. You have, by your own admission, never eaten the burger. Again, not trying to be rude because whatever turned you off to the place is surely a valid complaint, and one that would be useful to learn about. It's just you offer an awful lot of critique of an item you haven't experienced.

                                                                    1. re: Frommtron

                                                                      I've had the burger three times now and I've hated the onions three times. In fact, I would give Sang an extra five bucks to leave them off!

                                                                      HOWEVER, this is not a complaint and he can have any policy he chooses because, as you pointed out, there are so many other delicious items available there. Most of the time, I just order off the chalkboard. Everything has always been great. Yes, I had to bail on the burger, but BFD. I love their food.

                                                                      1. re: SaltCod

                                                                        Man, I wiped the onions of my plate with the sweet potato fries.

                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                          The onions are the best thing about that burger. The sweetness evens everything else out. Damn, now I'm dreaming of that burger again. All this is of course my humble opinion.

                                                                      2. re: Frommtron

                                                                        "think the reason why Father's Office creates such a stir with their no substitutions policy is that the burger has traditionally been a fully customizable food, similar to an omelette."

                                                                        Well, this is a fast food nation. Americans love things that cater to them and are inexepsnive. That is why chains is so successful in this country, and will continue to be. Just like burger Kings slogan "Your way right away". I can respect the mertis of "your way right away", but I dont mind the chef choosing for me personally, since I dont have food allergies and like almost all types of ingredients.

                                                                        That being said, FO goes a little overboard, but still. It refreshing to see ONE restaurant stick to their principles. This reminds me of the famous NYC Chef David Chang of MomoFuku. He stuck to his guns just like Yang sticks to his, and is now the hottest chef in all of Manhattan. I respect that.

                                                                      3. re: Diana

                                                                        Since you haven't tried the burger you're probably not aware that it already has a sweetness from the onion and balsamic compote. The addition of mango chutney would really be cloying.

                                                                    2. I think the big deal is all the beer thats on tap. I certainly wasn't impressed with their burger that so many rave about and I don't drink beer so it didn't do a thing for me :)

                                                                      1. I just thought of a perfect business opportunity: set up a cart outside of FO renting folding tables and chairs, and selling ketchup packets for $1 each.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Diana

                                                                            Hubby & I went to the new FO last night at about 6pm & walked right in. It seemed to me if we had arrived 15 minutes earlier, a table would have been easier to score however we lucked out & got two bar seats within 10 minutes. The new space is really nice, open & airy with large doors that open to a huge outdoor patio/deck overlooking Helms Ave. I have to say that FO has really lived up the area with that deck. Ok, the food; we ordered the burger (of course), duck salad, ribs, cheese & sweet potato fries. All of the food arrived quickly & was piping hot. The burger was cooked perfectly & was a carbon copy of the montana version we have enjoyed for years. I really liked the duck salad but felt it was one dimentional. The sweet potato fries were crispy & paired well with the garlic aioli. The ribs were dissapointing, just kind of boring really and not at all spicey as the menu described. Not being a beer drinker, I enjoyed some of the organic tequila they offer with natural ginger ale & lime. It was very refreshing & tasty. The services was wonderful too. Three different bartenders checked in with us at various times & one even took my dislike of beer as a challenge & brought me two tastes of beer that she felt might convert me & to my surprise, I actually like one (presh?)! The food runners & busboys were also helpful bringing us additional aioli when we asked & as I mentioned earlier our food arrived quickly & was hot. Overall we enjoyed our FO experience & plan to return soon. oh, & since others mentioned it, my opinion of the Counter is negative. I live walking distance but stopped going quite awhile ago because the burgers are cooked wrong more often than not & even when they are cooked to the right temp they aren't very tasty....but I do like the salad bowl option. It's a great restaurant idea but just poorly executed.

                                                                        1. After hearing so much hype, and the new location opening near me, i went yesterday (sunday). i thought it would be a bit larger, but it is a nice location. service was good, cant complain. onto the food. burger was good, not incredible. beer selection was impressive. regular fries moderate...sweet potatoe fries really good. onto the bill. 6 bucks for a beer. come on. 11 bucks for a burger? please. 6.50 for the sweet fries..that should be price of the burger with the sweet potatoe fries on the side. 70 bucks for 2 people, 2 burgers, 1 sweet potatoe fries and 3 beers? get real. really have no inkling to ever go back unless the prices come down. and no one under 21? seems a bit wierd. fatburger..here i come ..with byob!

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                            I went Saturday for lunch also. Space is cool...boyfriend complained the TV's were too small and not enough (only 2 small TV's on each side of the bar), but I guess they are not touting themselves as a sports bar. We each had a burger, 2 beers and split the sweet potato fries. Everything was as good as expected, but agree on the pricy side. I also thought it was weird they were carding people in the middle of the afternoon.

                                                                            1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                              I'm pretty sure FO is a bar first and a restaurant second, hence the carding

                                                                              1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                Where do you usually drink? I went to Finn McCool's yesterday and paid $6 for a pint of Miller Lite (I rode my bike there and was parched) before moving on to Anchor Steam, also priced at $6 and comparedly, a deal.
                                                                                $11 for a burger is reasonable these days. Houston's charges $17 for a burger and regular fries.

                                                                                1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                  FO isn't a burger-and-fries fast food joint. It's called a bar, but it's really between that and a restaurant. Obviously you will pay less at fat burger, but hey you know what - you'll pay even less at McDonald's.

                                                                                  As far as non-fast food is concerned, $17 for a large entre is not bad at all. Especially considering that you can share the fries. The beer prices at $6 are are almost a bargain by today's standards. From what I remember the better beers are actually more, but worth it IMO.

                                                                                  1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                    $6 for a beer is not unusual. For a good beer or an good improts, amybe a microbrew, it's dang good.

                                                                                    IF $6 is too high, never order a glass of Utopias! :)

                                                                                  2. FO office prices are more of a nice dinner. next time i will just go to trader joes and pick up a 12 pack of microbrew for 15 bucks and sit on the patio and order some 7 buck sweet potate fries.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                      won't let you bring your own beer on the patio.

                                                                                      1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                        "FO office prices are more of a nice dinner. next time i will just go to trader joes and pick up a 12 pack of microbrew for 15 bucks and sit on the patio and order some 7 buck sweet potate fries."

                                                                                        Well FO is a bar right?

                                                                                        I might as well just buy a giant bottle of grey goose from costo and make vodka-tonics for 2$ a pop instead of paying 8$. I can just bring the bar to my house!

                                                                                        The fact is, you pay more for going out, and that goes without saying. But for what you get, their prices are very well in line I think.

                                                                                      2. I've tried to resist, but I have to join the Father's Office frey. Went with a friend to the original on Thursday for the first time since . . . let's just say that the last time I was there, if you wanted something to eat you ordered a pizza delivered from Louise's. It was pretty crowded, but after holding up the wall for a little bit and being chastised by a patron who thought we were trying to snag a table that was finishing up that he already had "dibs" on (which we were totally doing, but we didn't know someone had already claimed it), we were able to get two seats at the bar after chatting nicely with the couple who were sitting in them while we invaded their space in the process of placing our drink orders. The seat-hunting process in there is pretty entertaining. We weren't too hungry, so we ordered a burger and fries to share, and it was plenty of food. I really enjoyed the burger - medium rare as ordered, flavorful meat, sturdy but not too chewy bun, and the onion compote definitely added enough sweetness that i didn't miss the ketchup. The fries were piping hot and tasty, but I just lose interest in french fries before very long if I don't have ketchup. Total for 4 glasses of wine (I'm not much of a beer drinker, so sue me), burger and fries was about $55.

                                                                                        1. Anyone try Friday lunch at the new location yet? How crowded was it?

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: QualityMart

                                                                                            Decent sized line when it opened at Noon but it moved quickly and I and my friend got in without any problem. There was still a line when we left but, again, it was moving.

                                                                                            1. re: New Trial

                                                                                              I'm sorry, I've just never wanted to stand in line for what everyone keeps telling me "is a bar, OK, it has bar policies" I realize that it is the poularity that creates the wait more than the full policy. I mean, if the Boom boom room ins wherever were popular, it might have a line, too.

                                                                                              Sorta like the clubs on a weekdn, right?

                                                                                              But I don't like standing in line to get a burger and drink beer. heck, I refuse to wait in line at Pink's, too. then again, the food at Pink's is not worth the line, anyhow.

                                                                                              What I mean is, is there ANY time during the day on Friday or Saturday when I won't have to feel like I'm waiting for Space Mountain to get a beer? I seriouosly would like to try the new FO! I just hate lines. I hate them like I hate Brussels Sprouts.

                                                                                              Otherwise, I'll just go back to Boneyard or something. Ask Aaron to put caramelized onions and bleu cheese on his burger, or just get my fave burrito!

                                                                                              1. re: Diana

                                                                                                I've not been to the new one yet but I go all the time to the SaMO location between 1-3 on the weekends and have never had to wait in line.

                                                                                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                  2nd. I live around the corner and never see a line on weekends between 1 and 3.

                                                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                                                      As I said in my earlier post, I arrived at 6PM Saturday night in Culver City & walked right in.....but by 8pm when I was leaving there was a line & I only waited 10 minutes for a seat at the bar.

                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                    Diana - went around 3pm last Friday and there was no wait and plenty of seating. The burger was good but I was more impressed with the beet salad.

                                                                                              2. Went to the new location last night with friends. A short wait because they were "at capacity" and wouldn't let more people in 'till a few left. I love the new space, we didn't have to look around too long for a table. Burger as good as ever, and I like the outdoor seating and ease of parking a lot! No complaints, will go back. We were there at 8pm on a Tuesday, and business was very brisk--it's going to be rough on the weekends.

                                                                                                1. I emailed them a question last week, and still no one has responded. This was to an information email address on the site!

                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Diana

                                                                                                    What was your question? Maybe someone here knows the answer...

                                                                                                    1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                      if the beet salad contains nuts, if there would be a possibility at the enw palce of getting the olives sans nuts due to nut allergy (I know the old one wouldn't do it)

                                                                                                      And if it would eb possible to schdule a Maltose Falcons event there.

                                                                                                      1. re: Diana

                                                                                                        Call... e-mail is an AWFUL way to get in touch with anyone in the restuarant biz... trust me... :P

                                                                                                        --Dommy!

                                                                                                        1. re: Diana

                                                                                                          I'm a little unclear what you find so alluring about the olives since it's just a bowl of olives and almonds. If they will do it for you, I hope it's not a grave disappointment that you've been avoiding the place for so long on account of a simple bowl of olives that you could just as easily enjoy from the olive bar at Whole Foods. I haven't had the beet salad so I can't speak to that but why not go and try out the burger at least?

                                                                                                          1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                            OK, I LOVE olives, and warm olives go SO well with beer. When I was two, someone gave me an olive at a party. My mother said everyone expectec me to gag, as many kids do. me, I made yummy noises and beggedf for more. Been an olive maniac since then.

                                                                                                            Munching on warm olives with olive oil and a good beer is a true treat.

                                                                                                            Being allergic to nuts, though, well, that changes it.

                                                                                                            Yes, I could make them at home, but then I wouldn't have the fun of being at a bar with beer pals.

                                                                                                            I really want to try the burger! And the eel!

                                                                                                          2. re: Diana

                                                                                                            The beet sald has walnuts and I suspect that it's dressed with walnut oil.

                                                                                                      2. I live, literally, five blocks from FO--and love the burgers, ,the beet salad, the softshell crabs, the overpriced drinks...so why do I only go twice a year? Because they have possibly the rudest, most obtuse and obnoxious bartenders I've ever met. When EQUIRE (or GQ...whatever) named one of their bartenders the "best," I almost cancelled my subscription. They are rude, rude, rude-- they're busy, they're overwhelmed...I GET IT! However, at work, sometimes I'm busy and overwhelmed and yet I can't get away with being an a-hole to the people who essentially pay my salary. The bus boys and the guys who deliver the food, they're great, however the bartenders/"gatekeepers" need to all be fired and sent to some kind of rehabilitation school where they learn how to treat people!!!! I strongly feel that everyone should work in food service (if they ever want to eat out) and retail (if they ever want to shop) so taht they will know how to treat people--and that goes for both sides of the register.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: BunnieBear

                                                                                                          I also don't go as often as the food should entice me to but it's not because of the service, it's the crowds. I've never had a real problem with the bartenders, especially when I realized you have to be very assertive when trying to place an order. They've never been rude to me though.

                                                                                                          However, if you're talking about the review I think you are then I think you've got your wish several times over: it's been years since that write-up in 2001 and the staff seems to have gone through several sets of bartenders and doormen. I've also noticed that since the fire dept. cracked down and fewer people are allowed inside at once that the doormen are more comfortable and friendly. I think it made their job a little easier. My last several visits have been more pleasant than in years past.

                                                                                                          1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                            went to the culver city on sat, shared a burger, thai salad and sweet potato fries. I cant stop thinking about it ahhaha. Too bad the place gets super packed during the lunch hour on friday or else I'd go tomorrow.

                                                                                                            1. re: Derf

                                                                                                              go to fatburger with a 40. just as good, better music and save 50 bucks. i am boycotting FO2. boooooo.

                                                                                                              1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                                                No, it's not just as good. It's good, but not FO good.

                                                                                                                1. re: feedthebelly

                                                                                                                  So go ahead and boycott ... more room for the rest of us. Anyway, you're probably even more likely to end up without a table at Fatburger than at FO.

                                                                                                                  1. re: maxzook

                                                                                                                    And that table will not have been cleaned for days.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Josh90004

                                                                                                                      I should be at FO in Culver City right now! My fiance is there and keeps sending me pictures of the menu and beer in an attempt to motivate me. But, although I LOVE the food and beer, and don't mind overpaying for it, I just never feel like fighting like a Sikh warrior for a table. I'm tired, dammit, and it's Sunday! And there's nothing worse than ordering a delicious burger, then panicking that you will have no place to eat it as you hungrily hawk and stalk gaggles of yuppies who are lucky enough to be sitting down in what should be your seat by now.

                                                                                                          2. Haven't tried FO, want to , but I do agree that the no ketchup policy is insane. And don't think I saw it mentioned on here, but I personally think the Counter is good, not great...and that the yard house is in a lower class altogether. in any regard, those both pale in comparison to the burger served at Houston's. The meat, the bun, the sides, they just get it right. Never tasted a richer bite of burger anywhere. yet.

                                                                                                            1. I just visited the SM FO for the first time. Not a beer drinker, I went for the much-lauded hamburger. The patty was clearly one of the best I've eaten and the bun was excellent, but the bleu cheese just has to go. I read somewhere that Nancy Silverton doesn't care for the bleu cheese either. If the bleu cheese goes, I would rate it perhaps the best I've had. For now, the Tops Kobe beef burger in Pasadena rates as my favorite.

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                The story about Silverton comes from Jonathan Gold's review of the new FO:

                                                                                                                "I have heard from several sources that when Yoon visited Osteria Mozza and asked whether he could order the pasta tasting for just two people instead of for the entire table, as was printed on the menu, Nancy Silverton said: 'Only if you let me order a hamburger without cheese the next time I’m at your restaurant.'"

                                                                                                                I don't think that means Nancy Silverton hates blue cheese, I think she was just pulling his leg ...

                                                                                                                The full review:

                                                                                                                http://www.laweekly.com/eat+drink/cou...

                                                                                                                1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                  I prefer the Boneyard Bistro burger with Chimay cheese.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                    See, I love the bleu cheese. In fact, many Father's Office knockoffs leave that out and I think it's to the burger's detriment. The spice and tang of the bleu cuts through the richness of the beef and gruyere and, especially, the unctuous compote. I feel similarly about the spicy arugala. Any light flavored lettuce would be covered up entirely.

                                                                                                                    But that's just me.

                                                                                                                    Do you find that Kobe is worhtwhile in a burger. I've had it a few times and I feel that anything Kobe would offer is lost in the ground and grilled format of a burger. I guess I'm saying, what do you like about Tops? I think I might like to try that one.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                                      Honestly I think the FO patty is better than the Kobe patty at Top's. I'm just a bit thrown off by the bleu cheese, which obviously many people love. I would probably love FO better than Top's otherwise. But the Top's burger is very well seasoned, probably inspired by FO, with mozzarella, leafy greens and some spices I cannot easily ID. It is worth a drive to East Pasadena. I think about it all the time, but have to watch my cholestrol.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                        Sounds great! Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                                                          i gotta agree the FO burger is better than the one at tops......however, i am a fan of bleu cheese.

                                                                                                                          not saying the kobe burger is bad at tops (it definitely is tasty), it is simply in a different league as it is not an artisanal burger by any stretch of the imagination.

                                                                                                                          btw, the kobe burger at tops is a mere $6ish bucks, iirc. great bang for the buck!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                      I'm not a fan of the bleu cheese either...way too much going on with that burger...it exhausts my palate.

                                                                                                                    3. I have no problem with the no-substitutions policy in theory, but in practice I'm pregnant and had only one option to choose from on the menu. That's b/c I can't eat the bleu cheese on the burger and they wouldn't allow me to request that the beef on the special Thai beef salad be cooked any darker than pink. So I got the duck confit salad, which was actually very good, but it seems like some exceptions that would allow mothers of unborn children to protect them from listeria would be a nice gesture. I'm just sayin'...

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: yamyampang

                                                                                                                        It is cruel, but I guess that's what makes a food nazi a food nazi. I was going to drop in for lunch Thursday...how bad of a wait am I looking at?

                                                                                                                        On the topic of bleu cheese, I see both sides of the issue. I'm actually very turned off by bleu cheese on its own on any menu, but somehow with the burger, and the gruyere to complement it, it works for me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ElJeffe

                                                                                                                          They're only open for lunch Fri-Sun. (FO2, that is. FO1 only Sat-Sun.) I braved it for a work lunch last Friday and it wasn't that bad. Waited 10 minutes in line at 12:45. By the time 1:15 rolled around while we were eating on the patio there was no line at all and some open seats.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ElJeffe

                                                                                                                            That's a good question about the wait...I don't know how the lunch wait would compare to the Saturday night dinner wait we endured!

                                                                                                                          2. re: yamyampang

                                                                                                                            Father's Office is a bar. (One that just happens to serve a few good dishes.) I'm not sayin' it wouldn't be nice if you could get whatever you want, but I also think there are, er, some obvious logical flaws to taking issue with a bar's food options for pregnant women...

                                                                                                                            1. re: QualityMart

                                                                                                                              I definitely see your point there, using logic and bringing up the whole "it's a bar" thing, but in my defense I was just one member of a party of six and sometimes a group ends up in a place an individual wouldn't necessarily choose on her own and that individual still has to eat! I am looking forward to going back when I can have my pick from all of the menu options.

                                                                                                                              1. re: QualityMart

                                                                                                                                I understand special consideration in case you have a health problem or are pregnant, but reality check - we're talking about a burger at a bar, not your mortgage rate or who will be the next president or something.

                                                                                                                                The whole no substitutions thing is a cute little publicity stunt. Just go with it. If you don't like the burger the way it's made, don't order it. Honestly I can't believe this has stirred up a discussion this long. For my taste, I think the blue cheese + whatever else they put in the compote masks the taste of the meat way too much, but it's still a good burger. If you absolutely must have a foodie experience with it, get it to go and chow it down with a bottle of ketch up on the curb or something. There are benches right across the street at FO2 :).

                                                                                                                            2. I have to respectfully disagree with you, Ollie. As long as you go in knowing it's a gastropub, not a five-star restaurant, Father's Office is one place that actually lives up to the hype. I decided to wait for the crowds to die down, and I had no trouble getting a table on Tuesday. The burger is almost orgasm inducing. The Spanish mushrooms and anchovies get less attention, but they're delicious. I don't think I'll ever go back to the Santa Monica location. I had a far more civilized experience in Culver City.

                                                                                                                              http://grubtrotters.com/2008/05/21/fa...

                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: grubtrotters

                                                                                                                                Good point -- Father's Office manages to be both underrated and overhyped.

                                                                                                                                1. re: maxzook

                                                                                                                                  You just don't find bar food like that very often in the U.S.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Diana

                                                                                                                                      Went to FO2 Monday night and liked that there was slightly more elbow room than FO1. I also found out you can zip down the 405 pretty fast on a holiday evening (35 minutes from Simi Valley to Helms/Venice).
                                                                                                                                      Broke 9+ months of vegetarianism with an office burger. Had a Hop Rod Rye and Hennepin also. As usual, FO was extremely satisfying, but I still have a slight preference for Boneyard.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: grubtrotters

                                                                                                                                    Finally got around to trying the SM location. Loved that burger, but if they're going to bill themselves as a gastropub, they need to have table service. Getting everything at the bar and hovering to find a seat is pointlessly confusing and annoying. Also, while I appreciate the option of beer pairings, don't second guess my selection if I decide not to opt for your recommendation. I will definitely go back for that burger but will probably hit the Culver City location.

                                                                                                                                  2. I'm not a fan of Yard House food. But they do have some good Belgian beers like Gulden Draak, Leffe, Delerium Tremens etc. If you go during happy hour all beers are 1/2 price (iirc); this value is tough to beat.
                                                                                                                                    The only thing I like to eat here is the French onion soup. Nice soup comes w/ a large hunk of bread and butter. I believe happy hour is 3pm-6pm.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: RoachCoach

                                                                                                                                      You can get all those beers at Lucky Baldwin's, probably Father's office and such. Maybe not for half price, but at least you know that at those places, the food is better.

                                                                                                                                    2. Went here for a birthday gathering last night (Helms location). The burger was pretty tasty, comes on a french roll instead of your traditional round burger bun. Wouldn't come from OC again just for this. The fries were skinny, light and crispy. Sweet potato fries were delicious, suffered slightly from oily and limp pieces here and there. Garlic aoli tasty, wtf with no ketchup!

                                                                                                                                      The highlight...the cupcakes from Frosted Cupcakery I brought from Long Beach. Oh and you can bring and have cake, but not EAT it! We sneaked bites here and there, but the bouncers were hovering. We eventually had to step literally over to the other side of the rail and eat them as we were leaving....lame. Place is cool, heard it's much larger than SM.

                                                                                                                                      1. I can't believe this topic is still alive from months ago. Boy did I "Stir Up a Hornets Nest"!