After being blown away by “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” yesterday afternoon, my wife and I decided to venture across Pico Boulevard to the venerable Apple Pan, where we grabbed a couple stools with no wait but then were not similarly enthralled with either the service, the food, or especially the bill. The landmark celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, and while Susan was sure she’d never been, I have a vague recollection of visiting waaaaay back when the place would have been somewhere in its early 30s. If in fact that’s true then there are good reasons why I hadn’t returned since: the service left a lot to be desired and the food is as overrated as it is overpriced.
No doubt loyals to the place will bark and stamp and huff that I’m wrongwrongwrong and the entrenched westies in that bunch will urge me to get my heathen Tommy’s-loving tastebuds back over on the dark side of La Brea where they belong. But seriously: two burgers, two sodas, one fries, two pies: $34? In fairness, the cost might not differ much from, say, Pasadena’s Pie-N-Burger, but the grumped-up service you’re paying for at Apple Pan certainly lacks any of the no-extra-charge charm I’ve always found at P-N-B. Sure, some might champion the treatment as “no-nonsense” and that might be understandable when the place is standing room only during a weekday lunch, but off-peak on a relaxed Saturday afternoon it’s nothing but impersonal and to me it clashes with the down-home quaintness of the place.
Beyond that, the burgers themselves were small and rather bland, and to add fuss to the flavorlessness the gruff server reached in and yanked Susan’s burger wrapper from the countertop and disposed of it while she was in mid-bite, leaving her no place to put the tiny sammich down that she’d just started eating. And the pie? Susan enjoyed her boysenberry wedge, but my slice of their signature apple was tasteless and watery with a parched crust made only slightly more palatable by the ample $2 dollop of whipped cream I added to it.
Bottom line: When the high point of a restaurant is that you don’t have to wait to be seated, that’s low.