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May 13, 2003 05:27 AM

Father's Office - A story of high drama!

  • c

If I've learned anything from a recent dining experience, it's that I must listen more closely to the wisdom of the Hounds. I've read here more than once that the hamburger at Father's Office in Santa Monica is fantastic (maybe even heavenly), but just how incredibly wonderful I didn't realize.

As you enter the place the wondrously tempting perfume of beer and beef that pervades Father's Office hits you, and any thought of ordering anything other than a burger, the burger, is immediately forgotten. You glance at the small food menu that sits before you, mostly out of curiosity and habit than any real chance of choosing something else. By now there is no willpower left. YOU MUST HAVE THAT BURGER NOW! You can already taste it, or rather you think you can, but in reality no burger you have ever eaten can possibly prepare you for what awaits. So you muscle your way to the bar and place your order. A cold, cloudy, delicious pint of a locally made Hefeweizen... and a burger.

My watch says that eleven minutes and seven seconds have passed since placing my order, but this seems wrong. I know that I've been waiting for at least twelve or thirteen hours. But wait! The waitress is walking towards me with a plate! Could it be for me? YES, IT IS!

The first bite is indescribable. Aged beef, cooked to a perfect pink medium rare. Blue cheese. Gruyere. Caramelized onions. Bacon compote. Fresh arugula. All on the most perfect, oblong shaped, crusty roll. The flavors all mesh together in a way that tells you that at some point some higher being intended them to be joined in burger form. To even think of ketchup is utter blasphemy of the highest order. I cannot even fathom that some heathen at a nearby table has asked for mustard without even a taste. Fortunately, the waitress denies this request, explaining that no condiments are available. The justice at Father's Office is harsh but fair. Returning my attention to matters at hand, I am amazed and horrified to discover that someone has almost completely devoured my burger. I glance around for Wimpy, but alas, he is nowhere to be found. I am forced to conclude that I must have been eating the entire time my mind was wandering. One bite left. I attempt to extend the experience of this last morsel as long as possible, but it is gone. The plate is empty. My glass has been drained.

As I count out the bills to satisfy my tab I am struck by a feeling of melancholy. Although I know that I will return to this place someday, I will never again experience the thrill of my first burger at Father's Office.

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  1. great. now you're going to force me to go there now. I work about a mile from there, yet I've never been. Never been a fan of parking over at Montana Ave. I'll have to make an exception I guess.

    I'll have to ring them in the AM to find out if they are open for lunch. I'll have to make the trip sometime this week.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Xericx

      The Burger Nazi (vbg). I think I remember something about only serving the burger from 4 p.m.? But if that's not correct let us know. I too am getting tempted after that "Ode on a Greasy Burger" by CF.

      At least it shouldn't be as hard to get into FO for a burger as it is too get reservations at the French Laundry, per the tales this week on the SF board.

      1. re: WLA

        Go right at 5:00 -- by 6:00 the place is packed and you will be eating your burger standing up! Plus, the people who have tables are usually sitting around a pitcher and they're taking their time. FO also has take out, but somehow, the magic seems to wear off a little by the time you get the burger in your house. I guess you could eat it in the car...

        1. re: Margie

          The last couple of times I was there, we arrived around 9:30pm for a late dinner and got in easily. Both times there were 1-2 tables available and the food arrived within 15 minutes. If you don't mind eating a bit later during the weekday, you can easily avoid the hassles and crowds. Kitchen closes at 10pm though.

      2. re: Xericx

        Just took a look at the LA Times and their info is that the bar opens daily at 3 p.m. with the food menu being served from 5 p.m.

      3. Your experience sounds like what we used to put in our brownies!!

        1. Yes it's good. But the problem is that the cheese and the other fixins goes out the sides and you end up eating that all at once.

          1. Where in this dramatic work of prose are

            THE SWEET POTATO FRIES ??????

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chefdavis

              I don't know about this post, but they can be found at Zeke's in Montrose (probably the best thing they've got).

            2. It is one delicious burger. I tried to re-create it at home last weekend. I think I captured the "essence" of the flavor, but the finished product did not compare. I think that there is another ingredient burried in there that you left off, but I don't what it is. Also, I tried to infuse that bacon flavor, but don't think I managed. Any ideas or instructions from anyone on how to emulate this masterpiece.