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Restaurants & Bars 35

Father's Office in Santa Monica: NOT WORTH IT!

AR | Dec 9, 200501:42 AM

First off, I think the food at Father's Office is very good. The burger is excellent (an unorthodox combination of beef, caramelized onions and blue cheese) and the beer selection is outstanding. I've never been disappointed with the food there.

Unfortunately, I've always been disappointed with the experience. The bar (it is a bar that serves food, not a restaurant) is always crowded and there is usually a wait for a table. And, dear God, it's not just any wait but a fight to the death: there is no system or line for sitting at one of the 14-or-so tables. You survey everyone standing wondering whether they are waiting for a table or just drinking. There is a couple sitting at a table for four ordering two more glasses of wine to sip at glacier-speed, seemingly oblivious to the fifty people waiting to sit down. You watch in horror, having waited 30 minutes, as a party just entering the bar will luckily pass a table emptying out and take it for their own (your protests of "we have been waiting for 30 minutes" will be answered with an annoying grin and a "oh, I don't think that's how they do it here.") You can't even have a pleasant conversation with your friends because you're too busy keeping an eye on all the tables and your dreaded competition.

Finally, you claw your way to a table, only to wait in a ten minute line at the bar to order your food. While you're waiting for your burgers to arrive, you can soak up the atmosphere, which, for a bar is admittedly nice: it's simple, pretty comfortable and nicely lit. The clientele is yuppie-central, so don't forget to press your khakis in the morning.

When the food arrived, my friend asked the server for ketchup. No ketchup. Apparently, one of their un-written protocols is that there is no ketchup...and if you ask, shame on you. Sure enough our server was incredulous that we double-taked when he refused to bring us ketchup. Now, I understand the whole mayo with fries thing (and to their credit, their mayo dipping sauce is great), but, the last time I checked, we weren't in France or even a French bistro...we're in a BAR in LOS ANGELES that serves BURGERS and FRIES. To not carry ketchup out of principle is one thing, but to give attitude to someone that asks for it is inexcusable (the servers are uniformly rude, pushing people aside and hitting them on their backs to make it through the crowd). Oh, and don't mind that horde of people waiting for a table, staring at you as you eat.

Nothing I'm mentioning hasn't been brought up before (even Zagat mentions the "'your-on-your-own' attitude toward seating") so I'm sorry if this is redundant. Maybe I'm over-reacting and you can call me on this if you think I am. But would it kill the bouncer to manage a list of names or even install a self-governing chalk board, as if you were waiting for the pool table? Would it kill them to carry ketchup or at least respond politely to a request for it? I guess that's the charm: a sort-of "we don't care" pretentiousness that, for me, is more annoying than it's worth.

Next time, I'll be hitting the drive-thru at In-N-Out.

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