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6 hours in L.A.

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nickwin Aug 17, 2010 09:02 AM

Me, my brother and a friend are going to have about 6 hrs to kill in LA on our way to vacation in Australia. We are going to be at LAX, but have access to a car so transportation is not an issue. None of us have spent much time in LA or tried any of the staple foods. I've been put in charge of finding somewhere to eat, and was hoping some of you hounds would have some recommendations. I personally have never been to LA so I don't even know where to start. We want something fun, and not to expensive (under $20). Doesnt neccisarily have to be a long sitdown meal. We are pretty adventurous eaters and generally like ethnic foods. We are from Michigan and would love to try something different that we get here. We will be there on a Monday afternoon/early evening if that makes a difference.

One thing I've heard a lot of good things about is "Asian (Korean?) barbecue", but I know nothing about it.

Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks!

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  1. Professor Salt RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 09:30 AM

    You can skim through this thread for Korean BBQ recs in Koreatown. Plan on an hour's arduous ride through traffic from LAX to Koreatown during the evening rush hour, though. Even with a six hour layover, you might feel rushed getting back to the airport. Also - $20 per person for Korean BBQ is optimistic unless you have a bigger group and can spread the cost out per person, and skip the beers.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6004...

    In other ethnic cuisines closer to the airport: I think La Huasteca in Lynwood might be a good option. It's straight down the 105 freeway, and you can get some great meals there for your price range. Their deal is authentic regional cooking from the central highlands of Mexico. Even their Spanish language menu is geared toward educating Spanish speakers from elsewhere with the food history from this area. Since the last time I went, they hired a new chef, Rocio, who owned her own restaurant famous for her moles, so the focus may have expanded to cover other areas of Mexico. Located in a very Latino shopping center, you'll feel transported to another world. It definitely ain't Michigan.

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    La Huasteca
    3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

    1. mrgreenbeenz RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 10:42 AM

      Six hours can go pretty fast when you are trying to navigate an unfamiliar town. There are two restaurants about 10 easy minutes from the airport that might be worth your time. They are also across the street from each other so you could try both. Mariscos Chente is a very well regarded Pacific Mexican seafood joint. There's also an excellent sushi place across the street called Sakura - not anything too fancy but VERY good fish and if you don't get there very early expect to wait. You may spend a little more than $20pp but IMO it is the best value sushi in LA.

      Korean bbq is a great thing but getting from LAX to K-town could be stressful and confusing. LA traffic (particularly the westside) is not for the uninitiated. Sadly there really aren't any legit Korean options on that side of town. If you stay close to the airport you could also consider getting in a little sightseeing time in Venice or Santa Monica.

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      Mariscos Chente
      4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      1. wienermobile RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 11:15 AM

        In n Out Burger is right outside the airport and in six hours that could be a lot of double doubles.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wienermobile
          ipsedixit RE: wienermobile Aug 17, 2010 11:21 AM

          Ditto In N Out.

          6 hours in and out of LAX will probably get you as far as Centinela, if that.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            m
            mc michael RE: ipsedixit Aug 17, 2010 04:22 PM

            Maybe just go to In N Out and watch Get Him to the Greek on a DVD player or laptop.

        2. o
          Ogawak RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 11:19 AM

          There are decent representations of Korean BBQ on the Westside, a lot closer to LAX than Koreatown given the 6 hours you have. Because of unforeseen delays you might not even get 6.

          Tofu Ya has two establishments in West LA just up the 405 freeway, probably the best Korean on this side of town.

          11267 National Blvd at Sawtelle, Los Angeles, 310-477-6075
          AYCE BBQ

          2021 Sawtelle Blvd north of Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, 310-473-2627
          Bibimbap, (Korean rice dishes), soup and prepared BBQ dishes.

          The AYCE will likely fit your $20 limit, but it will be worth it.

          When you have more time in the future, get to Koreatown and enjoy the best of Park BBQ.

          1. a
            andytseng RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 12:08 PM

            I would go with Santouka Ramen and In-n-Out.

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            Santouka Ramen
            21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

            1. n
              nickwin RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 03:34 PM

              Thanks for the input everybody! Lots of good ideas. I have to check my tickets, but I think we actually have 6 hours to kill plus 2 hours to get in and out of the airport. Either way, it seems like you all agree that I wont make it to far from the airport in that amount of time. I don't want to be in a huge rush anyways, so Im ok with that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nickwin
                hnsbmg RE: nickwin Aug 18, 2010 10:03 PM

                If you have eight hours altogether and don't land until very late afternoon or early evening (meaning that rush hour will be nearly over by the time you deplane and get to Avis), you should have no problem going anywhere recommended here, unless the president is visiting. When I lived back East, I occasionally had a four-hour layover (total) at LAX and always rented a car for a quick (non-rush-hour) trip to places from downtown to Santa Monica and points between. My advantage was that I knew the city very well -- but with EIGHT hours? I would have driven up Pacific Coast Highway to Downey's or La Super-Rica in Santa Barbara!

                Getting back to reality, you should consider Torihei (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602793 for a great review and discussion) or Musha ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632215 , another very helpful review), which are actually across from each other in Torrance, a mere 12-13 miles from LAX. Neither is expensive, but you may want to loosen the purse strings if your proposed $20 pp limit includes drinks, tax, and tip. (See reviews.

                )

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                Musha
                1725 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

                Torihei
                1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

              2. e
                estone888 RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 03:56 PM

                I do not get this whole In N Out business. Come on everybody, it's a pretty good fast food chain burger (certainly among the best fast food chain burgers), but that's it. It's not a great burger by any stretch of the imagination. It certainly isn't worth bothering with if you have six hours to kill in L.A. and want something that is representative of what L.A. has that is interesting and better than elsewhere. I would bet dollars to donuts that the OP can find a burger as good or better than In N Out somewhere within a half hour of where he lives in Michigan.

                Definitely follow some of the recommendations for Japanese, Korean or Mariscos Chente - all of which are likely to be better and a whole lot more interesting than you're going to get elsewhere.

                A place that hasn't been mentioned, that I think is pretty interesting is Kotosh at Kamiyama. It's a Peruvian and sushi restaurant in Lomita, that isn't all that far from the airport and I'd venture a guess is unlike anything you've got in Michigan. You can see their website here: http://www.kotoshrestaurant.com/home.... - probably over your price range.

                Either of the branches of Mariscos Chente - great Mexican seafood - are an easy drive from the airport: 4532 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles or 10020 South Inglewood Avenue, Lennox.

                I've also heard excellent reports on, but haven't been yet, Kagura - Tonkatsu, 1652 Cabrillo Blvd. Torrance which is also fairly near the airport. Not sure about the prices.

                There are a whole lot of highly regarded Japanese noodle houses and Japanese market food courts nearby as well. They are cheap and very tasty. You can take your pick after doing a search on this board for them.

                If you aren't familiar with Korean BBQ and you are on a budget, probably one of the better places to get your feet wet, as it were, is Soot Bull Jeep. It isn't, by far, the highest quality bbq in Koreatown, but it's very reasonably priced, has a good selection of meats and panchan (kim chi and other such dishes) and generally when I take people there who aren't yet all that familar with Korean bbq, they enjoy it more than some of the higher end places. It's at: 3136 West 8th Street Los Angeles.

                I'm also quite partial to Honey Pig, which is also on 8th Street a little west of Soot Bull Jeep and specializes - as you can probably guess - in pork.

                Good luck. Enjoy your meal and have a good time in Australia.

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                Mariscos Chente
                10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                Mariscos Chente
                4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                Mariscos Chente
                10820 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

                5 Replies
                1. re: estone888
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                  nickwin RE: estone888 Aug 17, 2010 04:10 PM

                  Mariscos Chente sounds pretty interesting and easy to get to from the airport, but I have one question. My brother is allergic to shellfish but he likes fish and other seafood, would he have many options their for dishes with out shellfish? It seems like most of their dishes have shrimp in them

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                  Mariscos Chente
                  4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  1. re: nickwin
                    e
                    estone888 RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 04:21 PM

                    They are heavy on shellfish, but one of their very finest dishes is the whole grilled fish - pescado zarandeado. It is truly one of the great fish dishes I've ever had anywhere. They also have excellent octopus.

                    1. re: nickwin
                      j
                      Jase RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 05:32 PM

                      As Ipse says below, when is your 6 hour window will make a huge difference in what you can try.

                      There have been many reports about the Centinela location of Chente going downhill ever since Sergio left. They make some of the simpler dishes well but the more complex ones are no good. So be aware of that.

                      The Lennox one is still good but Sergio is now at a third Chente location in Inglewood.
                      310-672-2339
                      3544 west imperial highway
                      inglewood ca 90304

                      This location is in between LAX and La Huesteca on the 105. I second the recs for La Huesteca and visiting Plaza Mexico. If you wanted to try a variety of Mexican foods, you could do a quick hit of La Huesteca, Birria Jalisco and Guelaguetza. Try a specialty from each place. Probably get it done in a couple of hours.

                      http://www.plazamexico.com/

                      Theoretically you could go east on the 105, hit places above, then go north on 110 to get to K town and hit some Korean bbq. But again it depends on time of day. Even then, you'd have to eat and run.

                      Keeping close to the Westside, I'd agree about Santouka Ramen in the Mitsuwa food court at the corner of Venice and Centinela. Other Westside good ethnic

                      Tara's Himalayan, Jasmine, El Rincon Criollo, the Chato taco truck for al pastor tacos at the corner of Venice and La Brea. A cemitas sandwich from the truck parked in front of Smart and Final on Venice near Overland. Chego and Rio Brasil are in the same shopping center on Overland.

                      Any of the Japanese places by Sawtelle and Olympic. There's Monte Alban on Santa Monica Blvd.

                      Those would be the better ethnic options on the westside near LAX and you could easily hit many of those without too much hassle with a six hour window as long as it's not late afternoon to early evening on a weekday.

                      Good luck1

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                      Monte Alban
                      11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                      Guelaguetza
                      3014 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                      Santouka Ramen
                      21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                      El Rincon Criollo
                      4361 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                      Plaza Mexico
                      3100 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                      Tara's Himalayan
                      10855 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                      Centinela Cafe
                      4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      Chego
                      3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                      1. re: Jase
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                        nickwin RE: Jase Aug 17, 2010 06:17 PM

                        So out of the 3 Chente locations you would recomend the Inglewood one?

                        1. re: nickwin
                          j
                          Jase RE: nickwin Aug 18, 2010 07:55 AM

                          More like avoid the Centinela one and the other two are fine. The Lennox one is still run by the father in law and although a different hand than Sergio, it's still pretty darn good. The Lennox one is also just a straight shoot out of the airport down Century, go under the freeway, right turn on Inglewood and it's right in front of you.

                          Your reply above says brother is allergic to shellfish. The majority of the great dishes at Chente involves shrimp. But their signature item that everyone raves about is the grilled snook aka pescado zarandeado. Also, it's always safer to call ahead and see if they are open and it's available. These are small mom and pop places. It may not be worth your time if you can't do shellfish, you're down to the smoked marlin tacos and snook. The marlin isn't always available. The smallest snook size is usually one kilo and comes with tortillas. It would be enough to split between two people.

                          You might want to post the day and time window. It'll help with other suggestions and traffic workarounds. Everything you've heard about LA traffic is true. I recently had a few days off and I decided to spend it hitting spots around the city. I had to carefully plan for maximum spots.

                  2. m
                    mc michael RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 04:24 PM

                    Where's Burger Boy with his 26 Beach reco?

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                    26 Beach
                    3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: mc michael
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                      nickwin RE: mc michael Aug 17, 2010 04:34 PM

                      ok, well I am going to have to talk to the "group" and see how they feel about some of these places. But honestly, thanks for all the input everybody, this information is invaluable! This is the friendliest and most helpful forum I've ever been on, I love it.

                      1. re: nickwin
                        ipsedixit RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 04:50 PM

                        nickwin,

                        Dunno when exactly your 6 hour layover will fall during the day, but just be prepared that traffic around LAX on the freeway (405 fwy) is generally just a tad shy of utter misery. The 10 fwy, which you will need to get to Koreatown and points thereabouts, can be quite a treacherous task for out-of-towners esp. during rush hour, which generally begins around 3 p.m. and doesn't let up until sometime after 7:30 or 8.

                        Enjoy your layover.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Servorg RE: ipsedixit Aug 17, 2010 05:05 PM

                          If he really has a 6 hour layover, plus 2 hours he will easily have enough time to make it to K town and back to the airport. La Brea during rush hour is still pretty fast and if it take him an hour and a half back and forth that still leaves 3 hours to eat. So the cushion is more than enough for some great K BBQ at Park's.

                          -----
                          Park's BBQ
                          955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                          1. re: Servorg
                            wienermobile RE: Servorg Aug 17, 2010 05:09 PM

                            I love Park's BBQ, their short ribs are my favorite in all of LA, but I would worry about traffic and missing the flight.

                            -----
                            Park's BBQ
                            955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                            1. re: wienermobile
                              Servorg RE: wienermobile Aug 17, 2010 05:19 PM

                              Sepulveda to Manchester to Florance to Vermont to Park's is less than 14 miles. Even at rush hour it won't take more than an hour (and probably less) to get there from LAX.

                              1. re: Servorg
                                wienermobile RE: Servorg Aug 17, 2010 05:23 PM

                                Ok. Then if they have GPS I say go for it. It can be like the Amazing Race, but they have to order the short ribs.
                                http://www.parksbbq.com/

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  n
                                  nickwin RE: Servorg Aug 17, 2010 05:28 PM

                                  Realistically how much would a meal at Parks or Scoot Bull Jeep cost me. Not going to extravagant, lets say an entree and appetizer per person.

                                  1. re: nickwin
                                    Servorg RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 05:34 PM

                                    Your going to get one platter of the meat of your choice for every two people (I believe that if your with wienermobile your going to be getting the short ribs...lol) and whatever you want to drink. They will bring you all the panchan and rice with whatever meats you get. That's it. They will also bring you some beef broth soup to start. Probably about $22 to $26 per person, plus tax and tip.

                                    1. re: nickwin
                                      wienermobile RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 05:34 PM

                                      At Park's BBQ If you stay away from the 'KOBE' Style Beef" I think you could do it for maybe under $30 a person.

                                      1. re: wienermobile
                                        ipsedixit RE: wienermobile Aug 17, 2010 06:56 PM

                                        Agree with everyone else re: the price per person at Park's.

                                        As to getting to and back in time, no doubt 6 hours is a long time and easily doable for a native. But for someone unfamiliar with the area, driving by GPS, in (possibly) traffic on the freeways and surface streets ... I wish you luck and lots of Pepto Bismo my friend.

                                    2. re: Servorg
                                      m
                                      mc michael RE: Servorg Aug 18, 2010 08:39 AM

                                      if they are going with GPS, it's Florence. a little crazy, but might be an adventure.
                                      i still don't know when the "window" is. if it's later (after 4:30), a trip to the Culver City/Palms Father's Office might be less hectic and as much fun.

                                      http://www.fathersoffice.com/

                          2. wienermobile RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 05:05 PM

                            Another option if you want something ethnic is Ayara Thai Cuisine. It takes about 10 minutes to get there from LAX and they have some good, simple food for an area without a ton.
                            I enjoy the Pad Thai with every meal, but their curries are quite good too.
                            http://www.ayarathaicuisine.com/

                            Also in El Segundo very close by is Teresa's Mosaic Cafe, good home made mexican food and great hand made tortillas.

                            -----
                            Ayara Thai Cuisine
                            6245 W 87th St, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                            Teresa's Mosaic Cafe
                            150 S Sepulveda Blvd Ste G, El Segundo, CA 90245

                            1. J.L. RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 06:34 PM

                              If you're arriving Monday afternoon (rush hour) and staying 6+ hours until early evening, you can reasonably go north to West LA/Santa Monica (the 405-Fwy can be a hit or miss on Monday rush hours). Are you taking a cab? That'll run you $40+ each way.

                              For under $20 per person, in West LA/Santa Monica, I would try one of the following: A bowl of the spectacular ramen at Santouka (in the Mitsuwa food court),
                              OR... wandering Sawtelle Blvd (AKA Little Osaka), and picking an inexpensive eatery (there are many) such as Manpuku or Japanese Curry House or trying the uni risotto at Blue Marlin,
                              OR... trying one of the delicious bowls at Chego
                              OR... going to Culver City and getting a burger at Father's Office (though I'm sure you have great gourmet burgers in Michigan also...)

                              Mondays suck for sushi in L.A. - don't go there.

                              In Australia, try the mud crabs, emu, crocodile, and kangaroo. Their local shrimp are huge and delicious. I thought Vegemite was a more acquired taste. If you're in Sydney, don't miss the meat & pea pies at Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Have a great trip, and don't miss your plane.

                              -----
                              Santouka
                              3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                              Blue Marlin
                              2121 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                              Father's Office Bar
                              1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                              Chego
                              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                              1. DrBruin RE: nickwin Aug 17, 2010 09:57 PM

                                http://www.mannakoreanbbq.com/la_menu...

                                Consider Manna BBQ. (I'm ducking in case people try to stone me.) If you're really interested in a Korean BBQ experience (basically, you are given a bunch of korean munchies and you order raw meat and cook it yourself on a grill in the table).... It's not too far from the airport and it's within your time/money budget. It's decent Korean BBQ (All-you-can-eat). I've been to their other location in K-town but they opened up one in Culver City which is closer by. I thought it was a nice first foray into Korean BBQing. It's also located in a mall, so if you have some extra time to kill, you can do some last minute shopping.

                                If you want the popular Korean BBQ, you should should check out Park's BBQ. I also enjoyed ChoSan Galbee but I think it'll be out of your budget. While you may have technically enough time to drive to K-town and back, you'll be sweatin' it and if you get lost, you may miss your flight.

                                If you're looking for So Cal type experiences, you can look up where some of the gourmet food trucks are.... It's an experience.

                                -----
                                Park's BBQ
                                955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                1. n
                                  nickwin RE: nickwin Aug 18, 2010 06:56 PM

                                  Well, I haven't heard from my brother to find out exactly how long our lay over is at LAX, or what time of day its going to be, but I think I've pretty much ruled out K-town because of the drive and Mariscos Chante because of my brothers shellfish allergy. Both sounded awesome to me but I will have to try them a different time I guess. Manna is still an option though. The three places Jase mentioned in Plaza Mexico also sounded great. I like the idea of hitting a few different places and getting a couple dishes at each. Fathers Office its looking pretty good to. I actually heard about that place on a beer forum, and was thinking about going there for their tap list alone, but if they have good food also that may be the perfect place.

                                  -----
                                  Plaza Mexico
                                  3100 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                  Marisco's
                                  718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: nickwin
                                    mollyomormon RE: nickwin Aug 18, 2010 09:01 PM

                                    Both the food (not just the burger) and the beer are excellent there. Definitely worth going.

                                  2. n
                                    nickwin RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 08:46 AM

                                    OK I finally got my arrival and departure times. We arrive at LAX at 2:00pm and depart at 10:30pm, so I'm basically looking at a window of 2:30-8:30. Does that change of your recommendations? Are there any roads or areas I should try to avoid at any particular time?

                                    About Fathers Office, I've heard that the new location on Helms is bigger and often easier to get a table at, but is the food as good as the original in Santa Monica?

                                    21 Replies
                                    1. re: nickwin
                                      s
                                      samtron608 RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 08:56 AM

                                      sounds like you have enough time to get to koreatown for Korean Food and then overstuff yourself and try a burger (Umami is close by). then head back to LAX around 7:30pm and you will get there by 8:30 no problem ( just take La Brea ave straight down...no freeways).
                                      so i would say korean bbq (tons of recs on this board) and then hit up a buger joint or something else lighter. but i think you have plenty of time. leaving LAX at 2:30 you wont have much traffic getting to koreatown/downtown/mid wilshire area. just map the route going down la brea ave and dont use the freeways.

                                      1. re: samtron608
                                        c
                                        cdub RE: samtron608 Aug 19, 2010 09:18 AM

                                        6 hours is a huge window and that time, you can pretty much hit up any place you want in la. if korean bbq is your thing, i'd recommend road to seoul or hae jang chon. both places are all you can eat and will fit within your budget. not as good as parks but if you've never had korean bbq, you'll leave extremely happy and with a bit more money in your pocket.

                                        any japanese in torrance and even something like el parian for birria is a good choice too.

                                        1. re: cdub
                                          n
                                          nickwin RE: cdub Aug 19, 2010 11:53 AM

                                          What would I expect to pay (roughly) per person at the two kbbq places you mentioned? And you would recommend both of those over Soot Bull Jeep (which from what I understand is a little lower quality/less expensive than Parks?

                                          1. re: nickwin
                                            c
                                            cdub RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 03:23 PM

                                            expect about $17 per person. with the $3, you can get a scoop at sccops, which is actually 2 scoops, pretty close to koreatown.

                                            soot bull jeep is good. better than the ayce but you'll spend more than $20 per. parks is the gold standard right now but you also pay for it. really depends how strict your budget is.

                                            also, if your budget is $20, you're past that after a burger and beer at fathers office.

                                            1. re: cdub
                                              s
                                              sel RE: cdub Aug 19, 2010 03:37 PM

                                              Father's Office prices:
                                              Office Burger 12.00
                                              Craft Beer 8.00
                                              Tip ?
                                              Therefore cdub you are correct, a tip will put the op over $20!

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

                                              Father's Office Bar
                                              1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                              1. re: sel
                                                c
                                                cdub RE: sel Aug 19, 2010 03:57 PM

                                                i had automatically added fries in my head as well.

                                      2. re: nickwin
                                        s
                                        sel RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 09:25 AM

                                        I would do Father's Office newer location on Helms Ave but note that on Monday when you would go, they open at 5:00 PM. I frequently go when they open and never have a problem with crowding/finding a seat. I like all the food that I've tried but at least the Office Burger and a basket of Sweet Potato Fries is a must. The Chef/Owner Sang Yoon is inflexible regarding changes to his burger. Many on this board complain about this. Ignore them and enjoy the burger! I don't like blue cheeses, the burger has a bit and I still like it, a lot!
                                        As you will find if you go, FO has a really excellent tap list and they will let you have a little taste of anything available.

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

                                        Father's Office Bar
                                        1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                        1. re: sel
                                          s
                                          sel RE: sel Aug 19, 2010 11:33 AM

                                          I forgot to mention that if you go to Father's Office and arrive before their 5:00 PM opening, check out Surfas Restaurant & Supply about a block west on Washington Blvd. It is spectacular!

                                          -----
                                          Surfas Restaurant & Supply
                                          8777 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                        2. re: nickwin
                                          ipsedixit RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 10:13 AM

                                          Well, if you've got that much time, this is what I would do.

                                          Stop off at Scoops first for some ice cream.

                                          Then head over to Park's for Korean BBQ.

                                          Then on your way back stop off at Father's Office (at Helms) and get a couple of burgers and some fries to go for the wait / plane ride down under.

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

                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                            m
                                            mdpilam RE: ipsedixit Aug 19, 2010 10:18 AM

                                            The people sitting next to you are going to hate you, while you eat that amazing burger and fries and they're eating some awful (paid for) airplane food.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              e
                                              exilekiss RE: ipsedixit Aug 19, 2010 11:21 AM

                                              Hi nickwin,

                                              I'd second ipsedixit's suggestion, and to add some notes to it (in case you weren't sure what was the big deal about some of the places listed in it)...

                                              * Scoops - Made-from-scratch, unique, bizarre, interesting, mostly delicious flavors of Gelato created by Tai Kim. Really different from standard "Ice Cream" you might find at many places.

                                              * Park's BBQ - Arguably the best Korean BBQ in LA, this will give you a nice introduction on "Korean BBQ" since you were curious about it. Sit back and enjoy the free Panchan (little side dishes) that come along with the meal.

                                              * Father's Office (Helms branch) - Try their famous Father's Office Burger and you can then join in on the fun of arguing whether it's the greatest Burger of all time or not. :) (Do a search on the L.A. Boards to see various viewpoints on the matter). :)

                                              If you were more of a sweets / dessert type of person, I would've recommended a trip south (just slightly) to Torrance / South Bay, where you can get amazing French-Japanese Cream Puffs, Handmade Mochi sweets, and then enjoy some Yakitori and Oden (or Okonomiyaki), but that's for another day... :)

                                              Enjoy L.A.~

                                              -----
                                              Park's BBQ
                                              955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                              Scoops
                                              712 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029

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

                                              1. re: exilekiss
                                                shellshock24 RE: exilekiss Aug 19, 2010 01:34 PM

                                                I would second Father's Office as well. By the way, are you the same nickwin that I traded with on BA (I'm teamzim)? If so, you'll Father's Office. Great burger and awesome tap selection of crafts.

                                                -----
                                                Father's Office Bar
                                                1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                                1. re: shellshock24
                                                  Servorg RE: shellshock24 Aug 19, 2010 01:42 PM

                                                  Just to avoid any problems I'll point out that everyone must be 21 or over for FO. FO is a bar and they require that everyone be of legal drinking age for California to enter.

                                                  1. re: shellshock24
                                                    n
                                                    nickwin RE: shellshock24 Aug 19, 2010 01:56 PM

                                                    Haha, the same nickwin indeed. What are the chances lol.

                                                  2. re: exilekiss
                                                    j
                                                    Jase RE: exilekiss Aug 19, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                    And if Nick is really up for trying the Mexican places in Lynwood, he could stop there first. Maybe not all three since he doesn't want to be rushed. But Plaza Mexico on 105, to the 110 N to go to K town and Parks. Hit Scoops for dessert. Head back west towards LAX and grab a burger to go per Ipsedixit's suggestion.

                                                    The only caveat is all these suggestions are probably blowing your $20 per person budget out of the water. Park's is definitely on the expensive side.

                                                    Although now that I think about it, the 110 N coming from the 105 can be tricky by 4 p.m. I'm assuming Nick leaves LAX by 2:30, hits Plaza Mexico around 3 and is on the road a little after 4. Probably best to skip that suggestion unless you're willing to risk it.

                                                    -----
                                                    Plaza Mexico
                                                    3100 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

                                                    1. re: exilekiss
                                                      ipsedixit RE: exilekiss Aug 19, 2010 02:56 PM

                                                      Thanks for the commentary exilkiss. You're much more gifted and loquacious than me!

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                        e
                                                        exilekiss RE: ipsedixit Aug 19, 2010 04:59 PM

                                                        Hi ipse,

                                                        No no, you're too kind. :) Please continue to help us find new and interesting places. :) I just hope nickwin and his guests enjoy their limited time in LA with these restaurant suggestions. :)

                                                      2. re: exilekiss
                                                        e
                                                        ElissaInPlaya RE: exilekiss Aug 20, 2010 10:59 AM

                                                        Brilliant itinerary and advice from ipsedixit and exilekiss. These posters know their food and know L.A. Bring extra cash and enjoy every bite.

                                                      3. re: ipsedixit
                                                        J.L. RE: ipsedixit Aug 19, 2010 11:44 AM

                                                        Agree with ipse. Hit the Helms FO location when they open (5PM), gorge there, and also take an order burger & fries "to go" for the plane.

                                                        Not sure about Park's BBQ's hours (open in the afternoon?)

                                                        Skip Umami Burger. The only truly excellent item there is their onion rings.

                                                        -----
                                                        Park's BBQ
                                                        955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                                        1. re: J.L.
                                                          wienermobile RE: J.L. Aug 19, 2010 11:57 AM

                                                          Park's BBQ
                                                          Hours of Operation:
                                                          Sunday-Thursday: 11:00AM – 12:00PM
                                                          Friday-Saturday: 11:00AM – 2:00AM
                                                          Get the short Ribs.

                                                          -----
                                                          Park's BBQ
                                                          955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                                      4. re: nickwin
                                                        b
                                                        bulavinaka RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                        FO Culver City is much bigger and easier to get a table. If you're a serious beerhead, you'd be well-rewarded to hit this place. As Mollyo mentioned above, the food is excellent as well. They don't open till 5PM, so that's the only setback relative to your layover.

                                                      5. m
                                                        mdpilam RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                        You know, you could do Little India (Artesia; take the 105 East all the way down to the 605S to the 91E to Pioneer Blvd). The India Restaurant is my favorite, and I just had a really good meal at Surati Farsan Mart (chaat). I don't get out there too often, but other recs: Tirupathi Bhimas, Jay Bharat, Rajdhani.

                                                        -----
                                                        Tirupathi Bhimas
                                                        18792 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                        Jay Bharat
                                                        18701 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                        Rajdhani
                                                        18525 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                        Surati Farsan Mart
                                                        11814 186th St, Artesia, CA 90701

                                                        1. e
                                                          estone888 RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 02:02 PM

                                                          While it does seem to me that Father's Office is a better choice of burger than In N Out, all I have to say to that is: A BURGER! I'll bet you've got some pretty good burgers not too far from where you live. There is nothing so unique or remarkable about even a Father's Office burger that makes it worth skipping meals at some of the types of restaurants that you don't have, or don't have nearly the same kind of authenticity and quality where you live: Korean, Mexican, Japanese, Thai, etc. Take advantage of being in L.A. Don't bother with something that you can just as easily and happily eat at home.

                                                          -----
                                                          Father's Office Bar
                                                          1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: estone888
                                                            hnsbmg RE: estone888 Aug 19, 2010 02:38 PM

                                                            Excellent point, estone888. Even the greatest burger -- one that, unlike the Office Burger, doesn't require you to eat at least the scraped remnants of arugula, blue cheese, caramelized onion, personal pride, etc. (all of which I love, by the way ;-) -- isn't SO much better than the average fine burger available around the country, perhaps at home or in your favorite diner, that I'd choose it for a single, quick visit over every one of the extraordinary ethnic restaurants in Los Angeles. I say that as a matter of common sense and as someone who has just finished a survey of ten well-known local burgeries.

                                                            1. re: hnsbmg
                                                              b
                                                              bulavinaka RE: hnsbmg Aug 19, 2010 06:59 PM

                                                              Don't let the hype about the burger dissuade you. The whole menu is excellent. The beers and other drinks are excellent as well. The main man may raise some hackles relative to some of his nazi-esque rules (me included), but he has exquisite taste (IMHO). The Culver City location is pretty laid back, the staff there is far more understanding and very polite in pointing out the "rules," and the number of excellent and unique choices on tap is pretty mind-boggling.

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                hnsbmg RE: bulavinaka Aug 19, 2010 07:34 PM

                                                                Well said, bulavinaka, but getting back to the OP's quest: Is there anything on the F.O. non-burger menu that would cause you to stop there on a quick trip through LA, choosing the place over all the others you've recommended on CH? I went back to Father's Office recently (and will write a short blurb on it after I complete a couple of meals at all the burger joints I visited) and didn't eat, smell, or see anything that would push it to the top of the LA restaurant list. Nowhere near the top.

                                                                1. re: hnsbmg
                                                                  b
                                                                  bulavinaka RE: hnsbmg Aug 19, 2010 09:32 PM

                                                                  I think when if one truly appreciates really well-crafted beer and great food to go along with it, I would rate this visit pretty high. It's the "sum of its parts" issue for me. We ordered 10-12 food items from their menu (I recall the much-hyped burger, cheese plate, padron peppers, croquettes, prawns, lamb kabab, grilled figs, ceviche, olives, baby potatoes ) along with seven of their beers on our last visit (four of us). The food is definitely at a level unexpected for a bar. I believe Servorg once called it, "a restaurant disguised as a bar." I'd only add "first rate" to the restaurant's description. This had been a long hiatus for me after being turned off by the SM FO's surly attittude from a barman years ago. All dishes delivered and went well with most of the beers, which varied anywhere from lagers, IPAs, Belgian-style dubels, to couple more unique (aged in wine barrels). If there's a restaurant that has the selection of beers on tap like FO's but has better food to boot, then I'd send the OP there instead. I may not be the most knowledgeable beerhead on this board, and I may not be the most knowledgeable food Hound either, but I feel this place deserves a look for those who truly enjoy a unique beer and food experience.

                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                    hnsbmg RE: bulavinaka Aug 19, 2010 11:40 PM

                                                                    bulavinaka, I agree that Father's Office deserves a look -- even a serious look. I just think that the OP and his buddies have many better choices for a one-night stand. (But you're right to emphasize the beer service, in case they're really serious about beer.) I prefer Rustic Canyon for the non-burger items (and superior atmosphere, compared to FO), but I wouldn't recommend it to in-and-out visitors, either. There are plenty of good ideas in this thread, however, so they should be able to find a memorable experience. What about chowing down on live octopus, as someone just mentioned in another thread! ;-)

                                                                    1. re: hnsbmg
                                                                      b
                                                                      bulavinaka RE: hnsbmg Aug 20, 2010 11:31 AM

                                                                      I've never tried downing eight live arms at one time, let alone one! I prefer my octopods dispatched in the steamer! But that would be an experience few places in the world could replicate....

                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                        e
                                                                        exilekiss RE: bulavinaka Aug 20, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                                        Hi bulavinaka,

                                                                        It's quite disturbing, but also delicious. The sensation of having something suctioned to the inside of your mouth is... okashii. :) If you enjoy Tako, you might give this a try once at least. :)

                                                                        1. re: exilekiss
                                                                          b
                                                                          bulavinaka RE: exilekiss Aug 20, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                                          Hi exilekiss,

                                                                          With your rec on this experience, I feel I'm being suctioned into this by a true food pro - how could I resist this force?! :)

                                                            2. re: estone888
                                                              ipsedixit RE: estone888 Aug 19, 2010 03:05 PM

                                                              'Tis true estone888 that a burger, no matter where, is still a burger.

                                                              BUT ... when a burger joint gains national, nay, international acclaim like Father's Office did when Esquire magazine named it the "best burger" in the world* then it's probably worth a detour and visit.

                                                              For some it might be worth going just to see what the hubub is all about. Y'know, just to say, "I tried FO and it sucked! Esquire should stick to haute fashion, not haute cuisine!"

                                                              (* yes, you read that right, in the "world").

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                e
                                                                estone888 RE: ipsedixit Aug 19, 2010 03:14 PM

                                                                Luckily I cannot recall where, but I once read an article in a seemingly reputable magazine that attempted, at great length, to make a case for the Big Mac being the finest burger in the world, if not the known universe even. They were wrong, of course. As is, no doubt, Esquire, though I would be hard pressed to come up with my own candidate for the best burger in the land.

                                                            3. peppermonkey RE: nickwin Aug 19, 2010 10:32 PM

                                                              Sang yoon pretty much reinvented the burger at FO. I never get tired of that burger. The dry aged meat itself is unlike any other burger meat I've had. If you want to do "all you can eat" korean bbq which can still be great. I suggest Tahoe Galbi which is friendly for nonkoreans and like $17. I think there's a more expensive option $20 where you get a nice juice steak as well. Its not Parks but it's much better than excrement served at Manna. Make sure you ask for the bean paste soup at the end, AKA "den jang chi geh". They also have the rice cake wrappers which u fill with grilled meat and whatever banchan (small side dishes) you like and/or the salad and then dip into whatever sauce they give.

                                                              1. Windy RE: nickwin Sep 5, 2010 07:31 PM

                                                                Wow, this is a great LAX (and beyond) thread. Where did you end up?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Windy
                                                                  n
                                                                  nickwin RE: Windy Sep 16, 2010 07:56 AM

                                                                  Tons of great recommendations here, I cant get across how much I appreciate the input! We ended up going to Fathers office (the original). It was a really nice day so we took a cab from the airport to the beach in S.M. (cant remember the name), walked around for a bit then headed to Fathers Office. Me and my brother are both very into beer, so it seemed like an appropriate choice even though some people here felt it wasn't uniquely LA. I have to say it was Nirvana for me. They had a bunch of beer on tap that I have to really go out of my way to get in the bottle (Pliney the Elder, Racer 5, Old Rasputin...), that alone was worth it for me. And the Burger, oh my god. It was one of the, if not the single, best burger I have ever had. The sweet potato fries with aioli were hands down the best I've have, and they were an awesome complement to the burger.

                                                                  It was a little weird that you order at the bar at a place with that caliber of food, but the service was real good. I got overly excited half way threw my second beer, and spilled it all over the table. I told the guy at the bar and he just said, it happens, what'd you have, and poured me a full new one. Great experience overall.

                                                                  On the way back from Aus my flight got screwed up, so I was on a different flight than my brother and our friend. I ended up with a few hour layover in LA on the way home, so I decided to hit up Mariscos Chente. I was seriously jet lagged and phoneless, and I couldn't remember which locations were suppose to be good, so I ended up at the Centinella one. It might not be the best of the 3 but it was still a great experience. First of all, that Salsa has some KICK. I liked it though. In my sleep deprrived jet lagged state I was having a hard time with the menu, so I just asked my waitress what were some popualr shrimps dishes, she names off 3 or 4 and I ended up with the Camerones Diablos. I have to say it was one of the best shrimp dishes I've ever had, and my bill was only $13 so that was cool. After I got the bill I would have ordered another meal if I had time.

                                                                  So, thanks LA hounds, you didn't lead me astray. The food alone was worth the trip!

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Mariscos Chente
                                                                  4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                  1. re: nickwin
                                                                    Servorg RE: nickwin Sep 16, 2010 08:11 AM

                                                                    Great report back, Nick. Glad to hear that the recommendations worked out. I love Father's Office too, but it certainly generates a LOT of controversy here on the LA board. You ended up getting one of my favorite shrimp dishes at MC, so you did it just right. As recompense your report more than paid for all the responses you received from the local Hounds, and you are more than welcome back here (both on the LA board and in LA) anytime.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Father's Office Bar
                                                                    1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

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