A few months ago, my friend, Carole, who’s a belt designer
Culver City, offered to take me to belated birthday lunch. So, even
she’s a nice girl who said we could eat anywhere, I’m a good
and wanted to make it easy on her by choosing her ‘hood.
Culver City has become pretty hip in the last couple of years, and I
actually had a few supposedly happening places to choose among. [Mini
grammar lesson: “Between” means two; “Among” means more than
chose Ford’s Filling Station because I felt it was the most famous
the unaware, it’s owned by Harrison Ford’s son, Ben, late of
Beverly Hills) and because its website was down and I couldn’t check
the menu. If I could have, I doubt that this would have been my
(BTW--the site is still down as of this writing.)
When we got there, Carole asked me to choose the meal because she
know how to do it. I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.
out, it’s primarily a charcuterie menu, where you pick out several
cheeses, which is far from my cup of tea. I panicked and wanted to
but, though it was one-ish PM, a prime lunch hour, the interior was
about empty, so our exit would not have gone unnoticed. Many more
were enjoying the patio, but it was far from the scene I was expecting.[Sidebar: I’ve heard that it is usually jumping at night, but with
near-by studio personnel, one would think that if it was really THE
go in the area, there would be more patrons at lunch than I saw on my
At this point, my hopes of having a great dining experience had pretty
disappeared. But I was happy to spend time with Carole, and all you
order is one or two dishes anyway, and we were able to find three,
turned out to be surprisingly good.
We shared the four-cheese flatbread, which was basically a designer
Pretty tasty, though. She chose steak tartare, which she enjoyed
sufficiently. And I had a weird breaded shrimp sandwich, which I
you the title of because of the aforementioned problem-plagued website.
didn’t actual think this place was special enough to review, either
bad, so I didn’t try to remember the names of the dishes.) It was
decent, and served with an equally flavorful potato salad.
Then we got to my favorite part, dessert. Carole insisted on two, so
chose a flat chocolate cake, which was fine, and a pear
which she hated and I was indifferent toward.
To sum up, the experience was just okay, on every level. No horrible
stories to regale you with. But no props to hand out, either. The
okay, the service was okay, and the ambience was okay. For a
that’s been around for over a year now, to very mixed reviews, I
I feel that everything about it should be way better. The Filling
was actually unfulFilling, on every level. Shame, with all the hype.
Ford’s Filling Station 9531 Culver Blvd. Culver City 310-202-1470
And lastly, to make this week’s theme be not-fabulous restaurant
experiences, I attended the opening of Empress where Sushi On Sunset
be. I couldn’t gage what a meal here will be like from this event.
Granted, I arrived around midnight, so only the punky night-lifers were
left, and not the crowd who’ll be dining there, I suppose.
And I lasted only a few minutes because the entire place was filled
smoke, which is not only disgusting, but illegal in Los Angeles.
Ordinarily, if I ever find that an establishment is allowing smoke, I
report it. But this was an opening, so perhaps there’s a special
The thing that annoyed me the most about the scenario is that when I
explained why I had to leave so soon to the hostess and to a man who
appeared to be in charge, they both made believe they couldn’t tell
anyone was smoking. Both of them seemed like teens who were trying to
appear innocent to their parents who know better. They should have
fessed-up and pleaded the private party defense that may, indeed, be
But to make believe they didn’t know just chapped my hide. I was in
for about five minutes, but my hair smelled almost as bad as it did
used to get home from an evening at Sammy Davis, Jr.’s house, way
the day. (Which means it smelled like an ashtray, for those of you who
remember those dangerous years of people smoking like chimneys.)
Anyway, I’ll try to pay a return visit to see what a real night is
let you know if the situation has improved. I have a feeling it will
better than the opening. It almost has to be.