There’s a lot of buzz about Father’s Office (F.O.) having the best burgers in LA, but the more I think about how we qualify food, the more I think the word “best” is played out.
That said, the F.O. burger is really good. It’s big enough to split between two people and is served on a French roll, which makes burger purists cringe. I loved the caramelized onions and applewood bacon compote. The cheese is a combination of gruyere and bleu cheese, and arugula is an interesting choice of greens, but it helps balance out the other flavors and textures.
You can’t “have it your way” at F.O. because of a strict “no substitutions, additions or deletions” policy. The only choice you have is how the burger is cooked. If you are a burger purist, like options or a picky eater, then the F.O. burger is not for you. In certain scenarios, I think diners should just trust the chef and eat the food…and this is one of them.
Chez Maman sounds like really fancy place, doesn’t it? Well, in truth, it’s a small, neighborhood cafe that seats only 14 people, and it’s easy to see how this place could get packed during a rush. Most of the seats are at the bar, which gives diners an intimate look at how this place runs.
I ordered a burger, my wife got the Crepe Savoyarde and our friend ordered the Croque Madame. We also split an order of frites and a side of ratatouille. The cook was fast, efficient and truly a sight to see, working by himself to make all of our dishes with only seconds to spare before foods went from perfect to burnt. It went a little something like this:
– Slap burger down on the grill
– Drop frites in the fryer
– Assemble Croque Madame, place in panini press
– Move to crepe station and start the Crepe Savoyarde
– Flip the burger
– Flip the crepe
– Pull frites out of fryer
– Finish Crepe Savoyarde
– Start egg for Croque Madame
– Assemble and plate burger
– Remove Croque Madame from panini press, top with egg
Amidst all the action, I can’t remember when the ratatouille made its appearance except when it showed up with the rest of our food. I’d never had ratatouille before, but after seeing the movie, I wanted to give it a try and was pleased to discover that it’s a very simple and hearty dish.
Frites were perfect. If you’ve had perfect frites then you know what I mean.
My burger was really good. I had it with swiss and bacon, and the combination was pretty amazing (but then again, in my book, it’s really hard to screw up a bacon cheeseburger.) I’m not normally big on round burgers on square bread, but the bread was pretty damn good. It did start falling apart at the end, but I didn’t really mind.
My wife’s Crepe Savoyarde was cooked perfectly and you can’t really go wrong with a tomato, bechamel, prosciutto and brie filling.
I’m really big on fried eggs in (or on) sandwiches, so when I saw our friend’s Croque Madame, I got really jealous. A sunny egg tops a ham-and-cheese sandwich on pain de mie that’s pressed like a panini to get those appetizing grill marks. It was beautiful. Apparently it’s so good that it’s the only thing Sooj has ordered here. I’m definitely getting this next time.
We finished off the meal with some great, perfectly cooked sweet crepes. Our friend ordered the Crepe Tatin (carmelized apples with creme chantilly) and ours was filled with Berries and Creme Fraiche.
Chez Maman may not look like much when you first walk in, but grab a seat at the bar so you can witness and taste the magic.
1453 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107 map
415.824.7166 Web site