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The Father's Office School of Etiquette or Why do I bother?

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After a night of omakase a taste for surf led us to Father's Office, after a friend begged me to try it again, since they burned my burger the last time I went.

Here's the dialogue that offended (the other is the unkind waitress):

I'm allergic to blue cheese. Can you keep it off the burger?


But I'm allergic to it.

Take it off. There isn't much anyway. (THERE WAS!)

I think it will still bother me even if I take it off.

Then order something else.

Part 2:

Can you put a pickle on the side?

No way.


If you want a pickle go to Pavillion's.

I smile. She doesn't.


The burger was better this time. I felt like it had changed and shrunk. Is it the same french bread as a year ago? I remember more of a taste of basil and less pepper. Plus much less sweet barbecue sauce. Seems odd that they won't let us change anything but that the burger is quite different than before.

That's the drama.

  1. Why DO you bother? You know the policies.

    You were a rude diner. Which is not an excuse for a rude waitress. But, you did start it.

    Basil? BBQ sauce?

    31 Replies
    1. re: jaykayen

      I can "have it my way" when it comes to my Whopper at Burger King. I can have the French Laundry substitute an ingredient on their Chef's Tasting menu--no problem. So what's the issue with taking off some blue cheese (especially if a diner is allergic)?

      The whole "No substitutions, modifications, alterations or deletions" policy smacks of arrogance, of being difficult for diffculty's sake, perhaps to convey some sort of false sense of pretension. Get over yourself Sang--your food ain't that great.

      1. re: kevin h

        Sang is probably ignoring this anyway--as he should. FO is FO. Take it or leave it. You know the policies, so a rude response is expected.

        1. re: Adsvino

          I don't think epop was rude. Would their response have been appropriate if he hadn't been there before? I, too, have had some issues with the attitude of the service here.

      2. re: jaykayen

        i agree....if you been there before.....you know the routine. you should get something else besides burger!

        1. re: rickym13

          btw. i do love their burger and fries

        2. re: jaykayen

          Excuse me, but how was epop rude? ASking to protect from allergens? It didn't sound rude. ASking for a pickle is allowed by EMily Post.

          If confronted with such a waitress, I would have darn well gone to Pavilions, bought a pickle, come back, and put it on the plate when my burger came. But I would be polite about it.

          One can take it or leave it, and with FAther's Office, I choose to leave it. There are other places for burgers and beer that I can go to.

          But people should go if they want

          1. re: jaykayen

            Rude diner? Assuming the OP's dialogue is relatively accurate, I don't see it. Throw in some wiggle room for inflections - hmmm - might be possible.

            The OP's suggestion of the bbq sauce is probably the compote - in the same ball park as bbq sauce but with more onions.

            Sang doesn't like to have it his way - he must. It's his place, so if he wishes to dictate with an iron fist, that's his call. But a customer shouldn't be ridiculed or chastised by the wait staff for such a simple and legitimate request. I recently commented on a previous thread on how many of us (as customers) tend to be a little tough on folks in the service industry. Here, the table is turned. The waitress could have been more polite, considering the issue at hand. I remember getting similar attitude from one of their bartenders a few years back when I dared ask a question. The staff just seems to have free license to pop off at customers if they ask something - not right. So this waitress and probably every other customer-contact staff deals with this issue umpteen times a day - too bad. This policy is, shall I say, somewhat unique in the food industry as well as the service industry. Therefore, the staff needs to take this into consideration and adjust their daily on-duty temperament accordingly.

            My experience has been that the general attitude and temperament of a place of business starts right from the top. I've never met Sang, and I'm sure he's a nice guy, a sensitive guy, and probably a very particular guy. I've heard him interviewed - he seems very thoughtful and well-informed. With these assumptions in mind, I can't see Sang being uncaring about issues like the OP's. Would a simple, "Sorry - our bar's long-standing policy is..." or, "I can see how this would be a serious issue. Unfortunately... You know, the ______ is something you might consider instead." And God forbid, "Wow, I feel for you - let me see if I can talk to the kitchen..." I just threw that last one in since it was Friday - I get a little optimistic that better things are to come.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              As my mom used to say "he (Sang) doesn't give a rat's patootie" whether any of us like his rules, or not. And the funny thing is I find it refreshing in an Anti-LA way. I am certain beyond a reasonable doubt that the staff at FO's has had so many "trollish" challenges to their way that they simply shut everyone down in a similar fashion. At least you know what you're dealing with if you go in a second time. ;-D>

              1. re: Servorg

                You're absolutely right. And whether Sang gives a rat's patootie or not, it just seems in great contrast to what I pick up from him being interviewed - the most recent I heard was last year when he was guest DJ on KCRW. Whatever the case, I think there's preempting someone, then there's preemptive premeditated strike with intent to dis. That's where I have the problem, and that's why I'll probably never go back. I love the food, I respect Sang's taste in food and drink, but their ogre-like attitude brings out the adolescence in me - and I was not a good boy in my younger days...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  Sang doesn't give a patootie? Are you kidding? All this banter is exactly the reason for his passive aggressive policies in the first place: to create ongoing buzz and "controversy."

                  He can hide behind the chef's dish-integrity veil (and I know dozens of folks here will now rise to defend that secondary excuse) but the real reason for his burger-nazi schtick is marketing ploy. And a very effective one at that.

                  No matter how much anyone thinks the negative comments posted here will ward people away, and they will, the truth is that this kind of attention only serves to induce more trial and repeat business than it deters.

                  Remember the old adage: there's no such thing as bad publicity.

                  So it's a big net win for him.

                  1. re: wutzizname

                    >>I sense that He can hide behind the chef's dish-integrity veil (and I know dozens of folks here will now rise to defend that secondary excuse)<<

                    It may very well be a PR angle or a product of his policy. We may never know which. But IMHO, I do sense Sang is a person who feels strongly about his vision, and this is his vehicle for personifying it.

                    1. re: wutzizname

                      Yep, rude is their "thing." Kind of like singing waiters or a fifties diner. Not sure why so many don't get that.

                      1. re: cls

                        Are you kidding me? You can't see the difference between singing in a diner and telling a customer to go to Pavillions if they want a pickle?

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          Really????It's their schtick.
                          My brother used to work at the infamous Sid's steakhouse where they were told to kick people out who asked for salt. The place was packed. Trust me, the employees at Father's Office are waiting for someone to ask for a change or substitution... and they love it.

                          1. re: cls

                            Ahh....Sid's. I miss that place.

                  2. re: Servorg

                    I'm all for being real and can't stand the phoniness at most places. "So glad to see you again," when I've never been there before, etc.

                    This was different. They were going out of their way to be rude. No sense of humor about it. No pizazz. Just an excuse to be belligerent with no purpose but to show either her misery or my irrelevance.

                    1. re: epop

                      I think, unless you've walked a mile in the moccasins of the staff at FO's, epop it's hard to judge just how much crap they probably take from folks whose only purpose in stopping in is to be as trollish as possible by challenging the house "rules" - a la the comment about "adolescent" behavior from Bulavinaka elsewhere in this thread.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Hey - did I hear someone callin' me out?!?!? Who wants some?!?! ;)

                        It's been a long while since I was last there, but I never felt that the customers were deliberately trying to challange the policy. Most seemed pretty stunned by this, which I infer as just not being familiar with how strict it is. But hey - Santa Monica is a very different place than it was back in the 70s-80s when I used to spend a lot more time there. And that's why I now almost exclusively perform touch & go landings in that town now. In the lingo of my beachside youth, too many kooks nowadays...

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          Really suggest, in all chow seriousness, that if you haven't visited the new location in LA/CC that you try it some nice sunny day or balmy evening and sit outside with some friends and share some food - hell, don't even get the demon burger - and have some great beer or a nice cocktail and see what you think. It's a unique place, (in the good sense) for sure.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            The next time that the stars are properly aligned (meaning we can dump the kids at my parents' place) and we're cruisin' serious carno-beerage action in CC, we just may do so. Your word is gold in my book.

                        2. re: Servorg

                          I gotta respectfully disagree servorg. I don't care how much crap they take. If they're going to buck convention, they should be prepared to take some grief. By that same token, I do agree there's little point in challenging the policy when they've made it clear they won't waiver...for anyone.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        Exactly right. This post should end the debate. What all are failing to understand is the amount of challenges a restaurant face. FO--maybe in the millions? Therefore, any trying to "have it your way" is met with derision. Amen.

                        1. re: Adsvino

                          Again, no disrespect, but what you don't seen to get is that FO made a CHOICE to adopt this policy. If you CHOOSE to adopt a controversial policy, you have NO BUSINESS deriding your customers for being confused or frustrated as long as they're polite. There is no excuse -- none! -- for snottily telling someone who asks simply for a pickle -- a pickle! -- to go to Pavillions.

                          I'm not saying the customer is always right. I have no problem with servers responding to rudeness in kind. But if FO can't explain its controversial policies politely, if the default of servers is derision, something is seriously wrong. It blows my mind that otherwise sensible hounds like yourself are actually excusing this kind of behavior.

                          PS: I've been informed at fine dining establishments that substitutions (e.g., on a tasting menu) were not allowed. The server was unfailingly polite about it. But if he'd been anything less, I would have been in his face and the maitre di's complaining loudly about the rudeness.

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            Correct. I've been to FO a couple dozen times and have never received anything but polite, helpful service. If an individual server proved to be so rude, there's no reason not to speak to the manager about it. But a leap seems to have been made here that the server's attitude was a sanctioned part of the no-modifications policy. Instead, consider the possibility that this server was exercising her right to free will. And that her choice of exercise may have been grounds for censure or firing, just as it would at any other restaurant.

                            1. re: wutzizname

                              They've been genuinely nice when I have been there. Maybe one of the servers a little less so, but they train their bartenders/waitstaff pretty well, at least at the Culver City location.

                          2. re: Adsvino

                            Adsvino. I find it interesting that you condone this level of rudness at FO and even defend it but you can't tolerate the "attitude" at Mozza. What makes this different and acceptable?

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Cause it's a bar? Truth be told, I've never had anything but great service at FO cause I know the rules.

                              1. re: Adsvino

                                So by that reasoning, people that complain about the noise at Mozza or expect butter or olive oil with their bread should also know better right?

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  I think they're telling us that it is our job to shut up and sit down, Porthos.

                      3. re: jaykayen

                        I don't think epop was rude. Regardless of whether epop knew the policies, the waitress didn't need to be so snarky; it was her duty to inform him of their "take it or leave it" ways politely.

                        This place sounds like one of those "soup-nazi" or "sushi-nazi" kinda place, discussed every now and then on the General board. For the unsuspecting diner/customer, those places do seem very rude at first glance. However, if the food's good and you've had good, friendly service, those kinda places can grow on you....

                        1. re: OCAnn

                          I happen to like Nozawa a lot, the soup Nazi in NYC is terse and adorable in his own way and don't mind the crepe guy on Sawtelle, though I think he's hiding too much.
                          This, however, had no entertainment value.

                      4. There has been no change to the burger or the policy. Not even a little bit. The burger was never correctly considered big. It was really more rich and filling.

                        Perhaps the policy is lame. But that argument is an entirely different point. Like the surf you had a taste for, you can yell and scream and pound the water with your fists, but the tide rolls on as it ever does.

                        Why did you bother knowing full well that the policy you dislike was still in effect? Perhaps to yell and scream?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Frommtron

                          FO - still separating the wheat from the chaff in LA! lol

                          1. re: Frommtron

                            "There has been no change to the burger"

                            I was at the Culver City location just recently and I swear the burger patty shrank or the bun got bigger. Regardless, a dang tasty burger...

                          2. Summing up the above and restating the obvious:

                            Father's Office is known for their arrogant, inflexible policies.

                            Some people don't mind it. They even consider it part of the "charm." Hence the crowds.

                            Others find it offensive, and thus should stay away, and/or not complain if they choose to return after their first visit.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: wutzizname

                              I don't read the fine print when I enter a restaurant. So I didn't notice it.

                              The allergy, one would think, would be honored. As I said, my friend urged me to try it again after I once had a totally burned burger (not well-done but burned). I don't care what their reputation is. How would I know that it was a sin to ask for a pickle?

                              I find it ridiculous that people think I was rude to ask.

                              This is a board where people post their opinions and experiences about restaurants and that's what I did. Sounds like the faithful are clinging to their Bibles...

                              1. re: epop

                                No way were you the rude one. A burger without ketchup and pickles? And the alergy issue? I dont get it. Why do patrons subject themselves to abuse? And the waitress with the smart mouth? You have convinced me not to go there. I can make a great burger anytime I want. I dont need them. What happened to the idea that the customer is always right?

                                1. re: Baron

                                  I understand Chef Sang wants you to eat his creation the way he makes it. This is not The Counter, you do not get to buikld your own, they have to know that they are gonna alienate some people with this stand but they do not care. They are packed every night of the week.

                                  1. re: Burger Boy

                                    Therein lies the rub, yes?

                                    It's unfortunate that, because they're busy every night, it's somehow acceptable to treat customers poorly - the old, "screw you, I have a line out the door" attitude is just a shame.

                                    Surly waitresses and even surlier chefs are not charming, not ever. I don't care if they're serving golden eggs from a golden goose, it's just not necessary to treat customers in this fashion.

                                    I daresay that the waitresses bad attitude (and yes, even that of the chef) would be tempered if they suddenly experienced a decrease in business.

                                  2. re: Baron

                                    I've come to the same conclusion as you about making a better burger at home - really. And I agree with you on just about everything else. The one thing that I personally don't believe in is that the customer is always right. But I also don't believe in the way that the staff at FO gets away with abusing customers. I believe in each side being civil and friendly to each other. Not much of a request in my eyes, but it seems more and more folks and places have a serious problem with that...

                                2. re: wutzizname

                                  I wanted to try their burger again. When I got there I wanted a pickle. Nothing more than that, Frommtron.

                                  1. re: epop

                                    it good to be "THE BOSS",
                                    owner/chef wants his burger to be just that way,
                                    customers have the 'right' to take it or leave it.

                                    1. re: epop

                                      I'm sure they don't have pickles there, which might have been the reason the waitress responded with "go to Pavillion's," which is about two blocks away.

                                      FO is what it is. Perhaps this post will remind people that they have a rigid no substitutions policy (which I think might have been mentioned in other posts about FO ;)) so that those who require substitutions can go elsewhere.

                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                        Yet another place that will never see a penny of mine; I suppose there's no salt and pepper on the tables as well? One wouldn't dare tamper with perfection by adding a pinch of black pepper!

                                        I hate places like Fathers Orifice, but that's just my opinion; thanks to CH, I know the "etiquette" and "rules" of the place and I know to stay away. Your mileage may vary.

                                        Who wants to meet me at Irv's?


                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                          Tried the burger for the first time last Friday. I dont get it? It was average at best.

                                        2. re: epop

                                          If you knew the policy going in, then I must agree that you should not have asked for substitutions, regardless of what you want. However, that is no excuse for the rudeness of the waitress. It seems to me there was a lack of respect from both parties.

                                          (And I'm not saying this as a FO fan, because I'm not. I've never been there, and I doubt I'll ever go.)

                                      2. Dump these chumps, it sounds like you will not get what you want. I am gonna reccomend my favorite 26 Beach, big surpirse to anyone who reads my posts. 26 Beach does a great burger of their own creation, not a build it yourself type place, they make their own sauces and hamburger buns. What more do you want and if you have allergies they will work with you. Enjoy Life, eat a burger today1

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Burger Boy

                                          O.k.....gonna have to level with us. Do you live next door? Or, are you a part-owner? Do you *ever* eat anywhere else that you would recommend to us hounds:) giggling at you a bit.

                                          1. re: Burger Boy

                                            Gotta agree, B-boy. Tried them for the 1st time this week and the burger was awesome. Perfectly done to order. I know westsidegal recs the salads, and actually had that in mind when I went, but didn't feel like a sweet salad, and couldn't resist the chimichurri burger.

                                            And after reading all of this, and trying to get in FO, realized they're not open for lunch?! Is the one in CC open at lunchtime? Well, if the OP was me and the waitress or bartender was that rude, I would've gotten up and walked out. And possibly thrown my drink in their face! There are too many good burgers in this town, and no one should put up with rudeness, period. This isn't NYC, for goodness sake!

                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                              >>And possibly thrown my drink in their face!<<

                                              Your drink is on me, or on them, or... I'll buy your drink!

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                You're on!!

                                                But I'm dead serious, I've worked in all aspects of hospitality, except for being a chef, and I would never have thought to treat a customer with such disdain! They don't want to sub, I get it. But to be surly for no good reason when answering questions from a patron, who, for all they know could have been a reviewer, is just plain stupid. But it sounds like the owner sets the tone, and probably requires his staff to be rude, even makes them miserable himself. Hey you don't like your job, then quit!

                                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                                  My exact sentiments - see my first post above in response to jaykayen. We must have been separated at birth, so I retract my drink offer or else we might be breakin' some law... .-)

                                                  Regardless of anyone even having the notion that the OP was wrong, or should have known better, there's absolutely no excuse for wait staff to respond in that manner. Zero.

                                              2. re: Phurstluv

                                                I think westside gal and myself need to do lunch, she can get a salad and myself a burger and we can share!.............LOL She is nowhrer to be seen in this post. I am sure she is leaving the burgers to me. Westside, have you tried any of the new salads they are doing at lunch?

                                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                                  FO in Santa Monica is open for lunch on weekends.

                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                    Does that include Fridays, like the Culver City FO?

                                              3. I've never been treated rudely at Father's Office, but I knew the rules beforehand.

                                                I have no food allergies, but I am a type 1 diabetic-- and I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever (did I say never ever?) ask a restaurant to accommodate my disease. NEVER.

                                                Instead, I eat less of something, or I don't order it. The way I see it, my world's not going to end if they won't hold the carbs from the burger. Who cares? It's food. One meal. It's just not that big a deal to me. I'd rather have the experience of tasting a dish the way it's meant to be tasted, even if it's just one bite, rather than modify it into oblivion in order to satisfy my body's curious metabolistic whims.

                                                Case in point-- I spent 7 months traveling through SE Asia, China, Korea and Japan just so I could taste dishes how they're intended to be served. I don't particularly like cauliflower, but I would never ask them to hold it from a curry dish at an indian restaurant. Instead, I eat it as intended (or don't order it) and more often than not, it's tolerable-- or, strangely enough, pretty tasty-- despite my preconcieved notions on cauliflower.

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. I'm surprised no one has yet asked you this: Did this happen in Santa Monica or Culver City?

                                                  I long ago gave up on the SM location, between the parking and crowding never mind the 'tude. In three visits to the Culver City branch, I've never been treated nearly as badly.

                                                  OTOH, it's not like they're the only upscale burger joint in town, and I don't drink beer, so I don't go out of my way to go back.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: maxzook

                                                    Santa Monica Montana location.

                                                  2. I don't find rudeness to be charming in the least, but I am glad they piss off a lot of people. Both spots are way, way too crowded to begin with. Can you imagine if they were nice?

                                                    1. You know what?

                                                      The burger was FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR less pungent from the blue cheese than before, i almost just tasted it as a somewhat mild cheese. You must be onto something.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        Why bother with all that when you can go to Boneyard Bistro?

                                                      2. have been to FO maybe 30 times. never had any rude experiences before. the staff has always been EXTREMELY kind and generous. allowing tastings of beers prior to sale. always very knowledgeable about the beer and food.

                                                        but i do admit, i've never asked to substitute anything. but a hound should know better based on previous posts...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: lakeshow318

                                                          AGREE, 100+%!!! I passed on Father's Office for so long after reading negative posts here. All the too crowded, can't find a place to sit, no subs on the burger etc. etc blah blah blah. Well my girlfriend/designated driver insisted that we go for my birthday last year, we had a great time and I have been a frequent customer ever since. Great gastropub chow at a reasonable price (there is more to enjoy between the menu and specials, not just the Office Burger). The craft beer list is usually awesome. Russian River Consecration and The Office Burger a couple of weeks ago, for me it doesn't get any better!
                                                          As far as the service that I have received, and what I've observed with other customers, it has usually been very friendly when I sit at the bar and I've had some great conversations with the bartenders about craft brews and some of my beer related adventures. They are polite but unrelenting about ANY substitutions When I've ordered at the bar and sat at a table the worst that I've experienced is a bar tender that was 'aloof' but efficient. Usually they have been friendly and reasonably professional.
                                                          I will say that there are quite a few recently opened and opening alternatives for craft beer and gastropub fare so maybe the dissenters need to explore elsewhere!

                                                          Father's Office
                                                          1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                          Father's Office
                                                          3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                        2. First, I love the FO burger. I can't imagine anyone calling it "average". I would like to taste what they consider a good or great burger.

                                                          Second, I don't like rude servers. But, I also think that since you have been there before, you should know there are no substitutions. They are in a sense, the "Burger Nazi". Either you like the burger (and what comes with it) or you don't. But, imagining this were your first visit, then the "waitress" (I assume you mean bartender, since they don't have waitstaff), was definitely rude (though is it possible some of the dialog is missing?). The pickle line I thought could have been funny, but it doesn't appear she intended it as such. So, when I get rude service, I tip poorly (though I still feel guilty tipping less than 15%), and in severe cases, I'll talk to a mgr.

                                                          Lastly, I feel like FO is not known for their great service, but great food and beers, so I put up with the average service for the food and beer.

                                                          1. When a place has a no substitutions policy, you shouldn't expect them to accommodate an allergy. Haven't you heard about how many people lie and say they're allergic, just to get the kitchen to make something their way? You can't make exceptions for some people, and not for others, otherwise everyone will just claim allergies.

                                                            With that being said, I REFUSE to patronize places that act as though they are doing me a favor by taking my money. My first and only experience at FO, I walked in alone on the day of the USC/UCLA football game, place was half empty, and they had on some other random football game. I asked if they were going to put it on and the bartender said, "Nah, I don't want to watch it. It will be a boring game." So what? We're in LA! I ate half of the decent burger and left. Have no interest in going back.

                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: Azizeh

                                                              Your experience is another example that highlights the disconnect of FO from basic social connection. I grant Sang to indulge his desires in being Sinatra-esque - each and every one of us should have a shot at doing it "MY WAY-AYYYY". I just don't think this particular indulgence would play well in many other areas for obvious reasons. And that is what yanks so many peoples' chains. The basic business model smacks of elitist demagoguery. "You should have known," You were rude," etc. Folks need to look at what they are espousing - towing the line for what? A seemingly collective insatiable ego and a frickin' burger. FO will always have customers - some just want to have good food and drink. They know the rules and it fits within their individual cost of tastyness threshold - no big deal - in fact I admire those for it (Yeah, I'm talkin' to you Mollyo! :)) And of course, there will always be FO huggers, defenders, and attack dogs - just read through this thread. They're the Swift Boaters of the food world - ready to tear down an imperfect but otherwise admirable soul regardless of the human toll. Me? I just try to be a normal guy who just wants to eat good food without the Karl Rove puppet master antics. And that is why SM FO is out.

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                Well said, sir.

                                                                And thanks to this, I for one no longer have any reason to go to Culver City, either:


                                                                1. re: maxzook

                                                                  Geez - like this complex needs another furniture store, especially in this economy. This corner of the complex made the Helms building unique. I'll be honest - I'm not the jazz fan I used to be but it's kinda like the protected wilderness areas throughout the world. It's not like I visit all of them, but knowing that these places thrive puts my soul at ease. The same with the Jazz Bakery. In my eyes, they are a tenured institution that should be protected not only for its popularity with LA's jazz fans, but because it's such a substantial layer of the American culture.

                                                                2. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  This is getting WAY absurd.

                                                                  1. This whole thread is a joke. Why? Because we get a FO post every couple of months about how someone who knew about the no substitutions policy was outraged because they were unable to circumvent the known policy. People relying unfavorably to the OP aren't saying, "You should have known." They are saying, "You DID know. You were fully aware of the rigid policy. You went in anyway in and decided to try and irritate the system. You failed at the restaurant and now you've come on chowhound to bash the place."

                                                                  2. Now we are going so far as to link FO and those who like it to Karl Rove, Neocons, fascists, the Khmer Rouge, Nazis, etc. Who's being offensive now?

                                                                  The thread was started by someone very intent on being unhappy with their experience at FO. They decided to agitate the system and test its limits. I find that kind of thing totally in line with my contrarian and pot-stirring personality. But on Chowhound, WHO CARES? We all know about this, or can certainly find a dozen threads on the issue by doing a simple search.

                                                                  I'm sure the server WAS rude. And that's unfortunate. There's no excuse for that kind of thing. Rudeness is a completely separate issue from "the policy." If we just want to trade horror stories about the rudeness of the staff at FO then that makes a ton of sense.

                                                                  But how trustworthy and honest is an account of events from someone walking in to a place and purposefully trying to cause an issue by faking a food allergy and demanding a food item that the establishment doesn't have, all in the name of agitation?

                                                                  Sang Yoon's policy is not draconian. Draconian implies a lack of choice. The choice of an FO customer is to dine elsewhere. If you choose to eat at FO then you choose to accept the policy of no substitutions. It's also not even necessarily arrogant. It is how he chooses to run his establishment. It's such a well known policy and one that is also clearly spelled out on the menu diners order from. I see very little difference between FO's policy and a Mexican restaurant refusing to cook a separate pot of beans without lard for vegetarians. Or declining to serve hummus for that matter.

                                                                  FO is not for everybody, but Sang Yoon doesn't need it to be. He's serving great food, wonderful beer, impeccably made cocktails and that will guarantee a crown even if people who need ketchup on their burgers skip the place.

                                                                  1. re: Frommtron

                                                                    As the OP, Frommtron, I find your accusation presumptuous.

                                                                    I celebrate life. That's why after a very long omakase meal I went into the Father's Office rather innocently. I don't read the FO posts that come up usually b/c I basically dismissed the place based on my last burnt burger. I'd rather read what Exilekiss has found.

                                                                    This time the burger was pretty good but who would've thought a pickle request was blasphemy?

                                                                    I reported on the burger and on the odd experience there...

                                                                    1. re: Frommtron

                                                                      And I agree with a lot you have stated above about FO and Sang. He knows what's good. IMHO, he has impeccable taste in food and drink or at least he has a strong vision of it. Read through my other entries in this thread and this will confirm if not predate what you've stated above.

                                                                      My qualms via my rants are two. First, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior from someone who is supposed to be in the service or hospitality business. Like you have mentioned above about Draco and choice, the same applies for employment. If one doesn't have the temperament for customer interface, move on. Having been in service-related positions for many years in the past, I've interfaced with a broad spectrum of society. I know what it's like - I've worked with some very demanding customers and clients who would test just about anybody's patience. This never gave me the right to verbally abuse not a single person - not a one - no matter how demanding they were. Whether a customer becomes abusive or not has a lot to do with how the customer contact interfaces with the customer. Being that I've received similar arrogant comments (not even related to "no subs") from staff at this place as many others have, I personally see a trend. This obviously bugs me. The policy is one thing. For some of the staff here to use the policy as an excuse to unload on customers, that is the problem. I don't know if this issue is addressed anywhere within FO's management, and at this point, I don't care. But it should be in a serious manner. Sang seems to be above this kind of behavior - why does it still exist here?

                                                                      Second, for people to offer a blanket defense of FO is, in your words above, "Outrageously silly." Again, no problem with their policy. I never go anymore so it's even more so a non-issue than it ever was before. If any establishment wants to set up and defend policy that is contrary to the norm, that is their right - run with it. But if they choose to uphold this policy by berating individuals, then stand ready to take flak for it. This is where the free market plays out. Word of mouth about places contributes to either encourage or discourage the level of future patronage. LIkewise, for those posters who choose to overlook or condone this behavior because someone "irritated" the system, that is again, "obviously silly" in MY eyes. Where's the irritation? The OP was irritating? Begging for a fight? It's a simple request that would be gladly honored under these circumstances at everywhere except (as we now know), FO. But so many seem to view this as provocation and lunge out at the OP for even considering accommodating an allergy issue, including you. So the next time some regular poster puts up a ranting entry about how they were punked by FO staff after requesting no ____ because of an allergy, we'll just link that person to this post, with a then-justifiable, "you should have known." So referring to your item #2, until the blind idolatry and disregard for fair play ends, I see great similarities with politics of the past eight-plus years. If you conjure up fascists, Khmer Rouge and Nazis, I apologize for that - this was not my intent. Unlike the Swift Boaters, these were no jokes.

                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                        Well, I see reason has failed to sway you. Even within your own posts you admit to there being a big difference between the policy (which you argue is 'exclusionary' and take to making outlandish political/social parallels) and the way the servers deal with customers' requests.

                                                                        The bizarre criticisms of the policy is what is pointless. The criticism of the SERVICE is very much fair game. They are very different things.

                                                                        1. re: Frommtron

                                                                          Frommtron - we don't need MORE people at FO's - so lets just tell everyone that Sang's establishment is the Devil's Waiting Room and leave it at that. ;-D>

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            Servorg, I'm willing to try the CC FO based on your word - as I've mentioned in other threads, it gets a gold rating from me. Just because SM FO has this issue, it wouldn't be fair to cast it upon the CC location. In time, I will, and I will definitely post on it.

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                              I've taken to ordering my food and then telling the bar tender to pick something in the way of a beer that they think is interesting for me to drink with whatever it is I've ordered to eat. Then I discuss how I liked the choice after finishing (if they aren't too busy to chat).

                                                                          2. re: Frommtron

                                                                            I was speaking to the accusation that I went in there as a contrarian hoping to agitate.

                                                                            I can see the distinction you're making though I'm not sure FO does.

                                                                            The owner thinks he's perfected something that he hasn't and that's totally annoying.

                                                                            1. re: epop

                                                                              This country used to be a place that celebrated and cherished individuals for their pioneering spirit. Now, if someone takes their own road we seem to want to tear them down for not wanting to be part of the "Nanny State" in which we now celebrate the common denominator and threaten to "sue" them into oblivion if they have the temerity to do things their way and not the way we would like them.

                                                                              It's a sad state of restaurant affairs when one man, with two little establishments in this city of almost unlimited places to eat, engenders so much angst over his belief in doing it the way he wants to (considering that he did it by investing his own time, money and sweat to create something that no one is forcing anyone to go to).

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                Forgive me but the owner of FO, imho, is no Walt Whitman. Nor is that silly waitress.

                                                                                There is no angst, I think. Just a bit of good old American town square debate.

                                                                                The Hobbesian in me says that that's a little tyranny state on Montana Avenue, not here in Chowhound. With the exception of the people who think that I don't freedom to ask for something at a restaurant.

                                                                            2. re: Frommtron

                                                                              Sorry I don't see it. Outlandish, no. The parallels are simple enough to draw on and extend to this example.

                                                                              You've seemed to have narrowed your attack to perceiving my criticisms as bizarre and pointless. That's fine - you're entitled to your opinion and I can live with that. My opinion is that aspects of FO policy are in fact exclusionary. Consider some hapless unwitting bloke like me wandering in, asking if they have some Aussie brew and getting slammed for it by the bar folk. If someone with an allergy will get the kind of response that epop got, I'm guessing FO calls out their SWAT team to deal with a wicked offender like me. So only educated folks like CH and repeats should walk in - others need not apply. Again - I can live with whatever rules are implemented for what ever reason a business owner CHOOSES. I may VIEW them as something I don't like, but I CAN ACCEPT that. I'm a strong believer in self-determination. THEN I can decide whether I should patronize the place - that is MY CHOICE. Again - it's Sang's house - he makes the rules.

                                                                              I don't think the rules/policies were meant to be doled out the way they were to the OP - again, that is THE problem. And because the rules are somewhat extreme relative to what can be REASONABLY EXPECTED by the typical eater (but I know this place can't accept lowly village idiot-types like me), some of the staff seems to take license in doling out the rules in this rude uppity fashion. Maybe you don't see the possible connection, but I do. "My way or the highway - beeech."

                                                                              And yes, service is fair game, and that's why I haven't shut up. As long as people brush over - even soil the OP's reputation and assume the lion's share of guilt upon him/her, then using that as leverage to dismiss the wait staff's behavior as just being unfortunate - that's outrageous.

                                                                    2. Ate at FO (Culver City) for the first time today. The staff was very friendly. The beer was great. The olives were very good. The fries were very good. But, did not like the hamburger for one reason--the compote was too sweet and overwhelming. Much prefer the burger at Unami.

                                                                      1. Folks, this discussion has run its course, so we're locking it. Please move on to another topic.