REVIEW (w/foodie flix and pix!): Father's Office
For flix and pix click: http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com
A preview of coming attractions:
Those who have never been to Father’s Office in Santa Monica have heard the legends: it is tiny, tiny, tiny; the employees have serious attitude; and most importantly it has the best burger in the region if the not the entire United States.
Tiny? I wonder if the naysayers who make this claim have actually been to a tiny restaurant (Vietnamese Soy Café comes to mind). I was expecting the place to be of Lilliputian proportions and was worried that half of our party of 13 would not be seated even though we were first in line. I would say that Father’s Office is tiny by dim sum palace standards but it seats about 50 people easily.
Missing was the purported Father’s Office attitude; my bartender was so nice and helped me pick a great beer to go with my burger: Racer Five IPA (I normally don’t like IPAs but this was really good and went great with the burger) brewed by Bear Republic Brewery up in Sonoma County. The owner, Sang Yoon, is diligent about serving artisanal beers that compliment his gourmet burger. While my glass cost about $2.75 he has beers available that I believe are several hundred dollars per bottle. Just be careful about which beers you order Dear Reader.
But the legend of the phenomenal burger is indeed fact - it is quite delicious. The meat is of obvious high quality and I believe it is a mixture of ground sirloin and chuck. The carmelized onions, Maytag Blue, arugula, and toasted French roll just highlight the wonderful beef, and all of the components work really well together. Six conversations about one thing:
The rest of the items that we tried were extremely good. The sweet potato fries are absolutely incredible (I don’t even like sweet potato fries.) These are a must to order with the burger - don’t be tempted to order the regular fries like I was as they are not so great. My favorite item that day was the spiced olives. I was just blown away but the complex Moroccan spices that enveloped the olives. I definitely want to go back to Father’s Office to get non-burger items (the goat cheese gratin and the white anchovies are calling me, “Bon V, come to me…”); if the kitchen can put out olives that are to die for, imagine what the other items must taste like.
I do have a few criticisms though. While most people in our party complained of their burger being undercooked, my burger was overcooked. It was still tasty and juicy but I think that it would have been better (for me, at least) if it were a little less well done. The burger was supposed to have Gruyere cheese on it but it seemed to be absent from my particular burger. And the main problem for me, and this might sound silly to some (or even most) but even though the burger is truly excellent it seems more like a steak sandwich than a burger.
1018 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Only one beer costs several hundred a bottle, Sam Adam's Utopias, which is generally 25%, and should be drunk like a liquor or fine scotch or brandy.
THat usually tops over $200 a bottle for older vintages, if you can find it.
Luckily, with such high alcohol and no carbonation, this wonderful still beer can be opened and kept around until finished. Our bottle is still around. Sealed, it ages nicely.
Interesting that in a restaurant famous for refusing to allow alterations or substitutions, they forgot your cheese and your burger was overdone.. Uh huh. Did you point this out? What was the result?
I think that it was the high level of cooking skill that made the sweet potato fries so good. I've had them many times before and they either taste undercooked with a greasy mouth feel or they are way over-cooked and very tough - almost like leather sweet potato. At Father's Office the fries are crispy on the outside and nice and tender on the inside. They are also seasoned very well so you get a nice salty contrast to the sweet of the potato. And, I forgot to mention above, they are served with a blue cheese aioli which was fabulous (I even dunked them into my garlic aioli that's served with the regular fries and that worked too.)