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Sep 5, 2010 09:38 PM

Fathers Office=Pinks=Emperors Clothes

I'm calling out Fathers Office. Everyone who lives here knows that Pinks is lousy. That goes without saying. But now I'm calling out everyone who thinks Fathers Office is all that. This is my 3rd or 4th time there tonight, and I'm done. Done. First, having to wait for a table, staring at someone who is trying to enjoy their meal, in the hope they leave quickly, is not cool. Next, I ask for a beer that is the closest to a German lager, and they give me some cr*p beer. I take it back and say give me a Corona, and they say "No Corona" but here try this; it's close", and I try it and its worse; its bitter. Not hoppy bitter. Just Bitter. Then the burger; OK, Emperors clothes. You think blue cheese with that sweet sauce they put on it is good? Great. I'm sorry. It's bad tasting. The meat itself is not bad meat if you scape away all the stuff but as a whole burger (and as you know you can't change anything) I would rather have a Big Mac or In-N-Out. to say nothing of Apple Pan or Golden State or someplace that actually has a good tasting burger. Fire away, but I say their beers and their burger are the Emperors Clothes.

Apple Pan
10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

The Golden State
426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

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  1. Each time I've gone there, the service was poor.

    1. I recently went to the Culver City/Palms FO and thought everything was excellent - food, service and beer recs. Now if you're talkin' the Santa Monica location, let's just say I have nothing to say. I do get what you're saying though about folks wanting your table. But if you've eaten in other countries, e.g., Hong Kong, folks hover around you all the time waiting for your to vacate. That's usually a good sign in that you're eating at a place that folks actually feel it's worth the wait. Geez, after being an FO-hater (again, because of my experience at the SM location), I never thought I'd be defending FO. :)

      6 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        Fellow Bruin, I'm gonna have to back up bulavinaka (and FO) on this one... I DO agree with you that the FO Santa Monica location is crap, with lots of attitude, and a cramped space to boot. Of that I agree.

        BUT I've had nothing but good to excellent service from the Culver City/Helms location on my 10+ visits. There are a few things which contribute to my maximum enjoyment of this place:

        First: I go on a Saturday or Sunday mid-afternoon (2:30PM to 4:30PM, between the meal rush): Less people = Quicker seating (the Helms location is much bigger than the SM location anyways) = less busy staff = faster service.

        Two: Why are you asking for a Corona at a microbrewery-only bar? Get the Belgian Triperl Karmeliet. They have Mexican Coca-Cola also, in case you plan on driving afterwards.

        Three: Again, skip the SM location altogether.

        As to the burger, you decide what tastes good to you. How was the FO burger on your first 3 or 4 visits?

        1. re: J.L.

          First, I wrote this review to stir the pot, so to speak. I know that a lot of people love FO. But for the life of me, I don't understand why.

          I'm sorry to say that it was as the Helms location that I had my epiphany last night.

          Why did I order a Corona? Because the beer they gave me, twice, was bad. I've had beer all over the world, and whether its a microbrewery or not, bad, in my book, is bad. I just thought that maybe they would have the ever present Corona.

          Next, eating mid-afternoon when you do, is I'm sure helpful in terms of the seating. We were there at about 8:30 last night, and we were not the only ones having to literally hover over a table, shooing other patrons looking for a table away with out eyes, while fervrently hoping the people eating would just eat quicker and mercifully not ordering another something to eat.

          Last I do get that we all have our own tastes. And most of us on this board understand that. There are burgers I like more that others. I'll just leave it with the fact that to our taste, these don't really taste as good as many others. I think FO got a reputation when it was one of the first of the premium burger places, and was the first to put bleu cheese on a burger with a good roll. As a novelty, I could understand. But now, compared to a lot of other places, too numerous to mention, IMHO FO is .....well, I'll end this on a positive note for us Chowhounders. There will be one less party of people looking and competing for a table for those that continue to eat there , and so long as FO is as busy as it is, a lot less people eating at places that I will frequent. Vivre la difference!

          1. re: J.L.

            I'm honored as a fellow Bruin to be part of this UCLA huddle/support group here. :) I think J.L. hit upon the reasons I enjoyed my return to FO after my self-imposed embargo. And I'm sorry you accumulated your loathe for FO at the Culver City/Palms location, as your torture reminded me of the SM location.

            We went on a Saturday around 5:30PM, walked right in after getting the doorman's nod and had our choice of two prime booths there. It did start to pick up around 6:15 but no one even approached our booth - maybe because of the multiple dishes that we were working through.

            It wasn't until about 6:45-7PM that a well-dressed lady in her 60s approached our booth from one of the tables, politely introduced herself, offered her wishes that we were having a great time, and politely asked if her party could have dibs on our booth if no one else had asked. "I really hate imposing upon you folks, and I don't want you to feel rushed. Please take your time. We are celebrating a good friend's birthday, and we just want to enjoy it in your booth since it's the best one in the house. We'll be over there (in the corner) and if you could just let us know when you are ready to leave."

            How could we not be enamored by a person of such style and good etiquette, particularly in this situation, and moreover at the "surly" FO? So we got the luck of the draw that night on my long-awaited return visit in pulling the most polite of customers LA. But even still, we never had anyone hover by our table or even ask other than that fine lady. Maybe the trick is to keep the table looking busy and no one will bother you? I think we ordered 10+ dishes, had seven beers and a coke before we wrapped it up around 7:30. Our time frame and yours obviously didn't overlap, so like J.L., I think if possible, hit up FO during that twilight time (that is of course if you plan on returning).

            The beers there, I feel, have always been carefully chosen. I'm not a true beer head, but I can get into selection if the selection is there. I'm like the proverbial kid in a candy store, and while I know I'm only going to end up ordering one, maybe two kinds of brews, I still bounce joyously through the list and scan all the fun handles on the taps repeatedly. This is just me, but the last type of beer on my mind at a place like FO would be a super-light lager that I'd only be drinking like a step above cold water on a hot day, preferably by the beach or pool. I'm not sure what you mean by the beer being bad - bad-tasting to your palate, bad because the taps aren't properly maintained, bad because the pour was inappropriate for your particular kind of brew, or bad in that you asked for something similar to Corona, didn't get it, asked again, and still didn't get a reasonable facsimile. I didn't recall seeing anything on tap that would remind me of Corona at FO, so maybe what you were handed was the lighter of the brews, which probably would have been some pale ale. Higher hop content but similar in appearance, I'd be thrown too if I asked for a Corona and got something headed in the direction of an IPA. Whatever the case, your palate is the ultimate judge.

            To be honest, I've had burgers that I've enjoyed more as well. I don't see the fascination with the FO burger other than, yes - the beef component is really good (but I can do something very similar at home), and yes, the blue cheese, that caramelized onion compote and arugula combination hits a lot of the various taste buds at once. But after a couple of bites, the magic seems to disappear for me. For me, the real magic is in the other menu items (which are very very good regardless of whether FO is a bar or otherwise) combined with just about any type of serious brew that one could wish for.

            I just came back from Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago, and enjoyed a place up there called, "burger." They had quite an extraordinary selection of tapped and bottled beers, great burgers, ice cream floats with stout (Russian Imperial Stout) and that laid-backness of Santa Cruz. I already miss that place and truly look forward to my next visit. But in the mean time, I swear I never thought I'd say this (being a long-time FO hater and now CC/Palms FO patron) but I'm glad that I have places like FO to scratch that itch.


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

              1. re: budlit

                Good to know. The gas to get there would be 30 to 45 bucks one-way, which might be a deterrent.

                1. re: Akitist

                  Keep that one in your pocket if you're in Santa Cruz. - well worth the trip. Lots of good food and drink in and around this laid back town.

        2. I think that there are some people who are attracted to places that have "difficult" policies and servers, and feel that by "passing" their inspection and approval that they are somehow an exclusive inner circle. Certainly, the Santa Monica FO provides these customers with what they need. So these customers continue to return, allowing the policies to stay in place. Certainly we should allow this to happen as that is what some people want.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tripeler

            maybe i just like the food and the beer and no one's ever been "difficult" with me.

            1. re: linus

              If this were 'Facebook' I'd click the 'LIKE' button. As I've written here before, I avoided FO for a long time due to all the neg stuff that I read on CH. Because I like craft beer and quality burgers my girl took me out for my birthday to a surprise place which turned out to be the FO on Montana Ave. (before the Helms Ave.) location opened. We waited a couple of minuter to get in, ordered beer and food and had a long and friendly conversation with Sang Yoon's beer sommelier, Hallie Beaune. My conversation with Ms. Beaune helped me a lot in my quest to discover great craft brew! A solitary customer at a table asked us if we would like to share his table. Great beer, food, staff and patrons! Been a regular ever since.

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

          2. YAWN.

            This review is the Emperor's new clothes.. there is so much more to F.O.. than the ONE burger on the menu and if you can't find a beer you like on their list.. well I really don't know what to say.

            You may not like the experience or the burger burger. BUT they do have one of the best beer selections in town, a well curated wine selection, excellent if limited cocktails and better small plates than most of the small plate restaurants in town. Personally I hate blue cheese on a burger, but It works for me at F.O.. because the bitterness of the arugula and sweetness of the onions balance it all out. The Emperor is well dressed.

            14 Replies
            1. re: AAQjr

              AAQjr, +1.
              The OP's review strikes me as one sided. Because FO wasn't able to anticipate the OP's needs and tastes it has been written off as "bad."

              1. re: AAQjr

                Totally agree - if one doesn't like it, one shouldn't go back. That's all there is to it. This dead horse has been flogged to infinity and there are countless existing FO threads that can be added to. Why start a new one for an old debate that has been done over and over ad nauseum? The blue cheese, the hovering, the lack of substitutions, the lack of Corona or ketchup or whatever, it's all been hashed and rehashed and then hashed out some more - nothing new here.

                I appreciate Father's Office for what it is, a great beer selection and a pretty good burger. I actually prefer some of their other menu items to the burger, they have really good specials. I haven't had the duck confit special in a while but when it was on the menu it was fantastic.

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

                1. re: hrhboo

                  And the original location on Montana has more than had their fill of jerkwads who come in just to ask for things they already know they aren't going to get - just so they can gripe about it on Yelp. No wonder they are probably a bit "short" with "trouble trolls" when they see them.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    People seem to enjoy going back over and over and then returning with the exact same complaints they had the first time. FO isn't for everybody, those policies aren't going to change any time soon so the place should be left to those of us who don't take issue with them. There's no shortage of places in LA to get a burger any way you like it!

                    1. re: hrhboo

                      In a way I'm glad to read these tales of woe about how horrible Father's Office is. It may reduce the mob a bit in the long run. Whatever it takes to get a table and dine without waiting! ;-D> (and good to see you posting again, hrhboo)

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Thanks Servorg, it's nice to pop in sometimes :)

                        Unfortunately the countless negative posts over the years don't seem to be having any impact on the crowds at FO. This either indicates that there are far more people having positive experiences or that the people posting negative reviews continue to go back.

                        1. re: hrhboo

                          FO has it's place. But I do agree that other gourmet burger options, they aren't as great anymore.

                          But I do think FO is a one trick pony, the burger. I've had some of their small plates, bacon wrapped shrimp and it was crap.

                          1. re: reality check

                            Have you had the mussels? The roasted bone marrow? The duck confit salad? All pretty fantastic...Like others on here, I really like the burger, but think that some of their other small plates are even better. I also think that anyone who is serious about beer owes it to himself/herself to pay FO a visit.

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              The one time I had their duck confit salad, the duck confit was a bit dry. However, last night, when my roommate got the salad, it was perfectly moist and juicy. I was envious.

                              1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                Mmmm...I love it but it's not always on the menu. Was this Samo or CC?

                              2. re: mollyomormon

                                Don't forget the smoked eel! yummmmm

                      2. re: Servorg

                        Just so we are clear: I did not go there because I wanted a set up to complain. I value my meals and time too much. We went because my wife and I felt that it had been sometime since we had been there, and wanted to give it a try again. I do agree that there have been a number of threads about FO and really did not mean to repeat those. It was just a reaction to the burger, and the place, not really to the beer (though I refuse to concede on that point) or the other food.

                      3. re: hrhboo

                        >>This dead horse has been flogged to infinity and there are countless existing FO threads that can be added to. Why start a new one for an old debate that has been done over and over ad nauseum?<<

                        I don't know - I get a different sense from this poster as he has been enough times to where he just doesn't thinkFO deserves the praise that it gets. Most FO posts are related to the surliness of the SM location - whether they are provoked or not is open for interpretation. This poster is giving his views and experiences mostly based on what he ate or drank - as is - and I think it's fair for him to note this.

                        Critique on the burger, the perceived quality of the beers or the results based on recommendations of the bar, and the table issue are fair game, as far as I'm concerned. Unlike other FO threads (and I've also been in many), I don't sense he was angry because he wasn't granted any alteration requests or was punked by a waitress or barkeep - that would be 'ad nauseum". If that were the case, then I'd say lock this thread.

                    2. Hmmm. I'm calling BS. Or better yet, BT, as in bad taste.

                      First, the beer. Sorry, but your vagaries allude to more of a you problem than a FO problem. And that's not an attack. That happens all the time with individual food preferences. Were the lines overdue for a flush? Was the beer old and stale? You don't know. And because you don't know, we on the board can't tell who's to blame for this. But given the turnover at FO, stale beer seems highly unlikely. Given the persnickety nature of the owner, I'd bet the lines were clean and flushed regularly. So it looks as though the bartender really tried to work with you to find a beer to your liking and it didn't happen for you. But make no mistake, FO has a VERY nice selection of highly sought after microbrews that mke every hophead I know salivate. You are in the extreme minority on this one.

                      Second, the burger. Your only clear criticism on this is that the bleu cheese doesn't work with the burger in your opinion. You admit the meat is good. You mention the "sauce" is sweet and that precludes it from pairing well with bleu cheese. It turns out, bleu cheese is routinely paired with sweet items on cheese plates worldwide. This is not a revolutionary flavor pairing, but rather one that was been tapped again and again. Your choice of the Apple Pan as the burger paragon is rather odd considering that either the ketchup or the hickory sauce is incredibly sweet, too.

                      Service/policies, I'm not touching. Every place has a weak point and that one is a doozy for FO. Although, the search function would work wonders if you want to delve into that decade long morass again.

                      You don't like the burger. That's fine. Nothing wrong with that. But your post if quite presumptuous. Emperor's new clothes or one person's peculiar taste preferences precluding them form enjoying high quality beer and a classic combination of bleu cheese paired with something sweet. Enjoy your Big Mac.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                        Just a quick reply as it seems everything has been said. I didn't say I eat Big Macs; I said I would prefer it to the burger at FO. But here's another tidbit for you to chew on re: bartender who really tried to work with me, etc. I asked for something like a German lager and he gave me a beer; when I told him that I had not liked that one, and said give me something like a Corona, he gave me a beer. Guess what? It was the same beer. With such a large selection, would you as a "hophead" expect that?

                        1. re: Bruin2

                          Kinda. Beer brewing was brought to Mexico by German immigrants. And Corona is a lager loosely in the German style. So if 2 *different* customers asked for a German lager and a beer like Corona respectively, I could very well recommend the same beer to them especially considering bars focusing on microbrews generally don't have a lot of lagers on tap. It's just not as popular with their clientele.

                          But your experience seems quite baffling. You told the bartender, "Hey. I don't like this beer. Can you give me a different beer more like Corona." And you say that not only did he give you the exact same beer after you returned a glass, but that (according to your first post) it was even *worse* than the first one. How does that even work? And why didn't you tell the bartender that the beer he served a second time is one that you had already rejected. I can't conceive of how this all went down.

                          I'm going to bow out of this one now, because as you said, ". . . everything has been said." All I was trying to point out was that your review amounted to nothing more you saying you just don't care for the offerings at FO. And again, that's okay. There's value in that type of review if it's honest and no one can tell you what you have to like and dislike.

                          But in calling out FO as offering actually poor food and drink and the patrons of FO as lacking taste you were really just calling out yourself.

                          Enjoy your Corona!