Not Your Father’s Burger

I have been hearing about Father’s Office for awhile from people living in LA, but I really became intrigued to try it out after I saw the owner, a Korean-American named Sang Yoon, appear on Top Chef Masters and talk about how he traveled the world eating all sorts of burgers in order to create his own version of a burger that he serves at both of his Los Angeles locations, Santa Monica and Culver City. It’s a gastropub, not that I truly understand what that means, but it probably has something to do with being a bar/pub that serves beer and high quality, gourmet food. The only other gastropub I’ve been to was Spotted Pig in NYC and I really like that place.

With the exception of my sister, it was a NuHo sibling fest as we stopped by for lunch before heading to the airport. I was the only newbie of the bunch, but we all were up for trying a variety of different dishes to sample a little bit of everything.

As I understand it, normally the sweet potato fries and garlic french fries come in shopping basket looking containers, but this time it looked like plain old metal baskets. Both came with a garlic aioli dipping sauce which was very light but went well with both. I liked both of the fries equally, but I think generally, the sweet potato fries were probably better than most other sweet potato fries that I’ve had. There were a lot of complaints that I had heard about the restaurant not serving ketchup. Personally, I thought the garlic aioli was so much better that I, myself, didn’t even think to ask or really even miss not having a bottle of Heinz.

I really thought they did a good job with presentation of the mussels. Not only were they decent sized, but they were all laid out neatly in the bowl so you could see that they were all opened and ready to be eaten. As we all know, it’s very annoying when you end up getting a handful of mussels that have not full opened and therefore, should not be eaten. The curry-flavored broth was interesting. I’m not sure if I really loved it, but it was different tasting.

I really don’t like Brussels sprouts, because I find they have this odd after taste to them. However, I’m always up for giving them a try since they seem to get ordered by my dining companions these days. These were deep-fried, drizzled with a vinaigrette of some sort, and served with a big crispy fried piece of prosciutto. They were actually much better than I expected. I didn’t like the crispy prosciutto. It was too hard and crunchy and didn’t seem to do anything for the dish. Overall, although this did improve my opinion of these vegetables, I’m still not sure I would ever order it myself. 🙂

The mushroom salad was absolutely delicious! It was a mix of sautĂ©ed gourmet mushrooms such as crimini and shitake tossed with a mix of field greens, radicchio and little bits of blue cheese. I’m actually not sure if it was possibly some other type of cheese, but it didn’t taste as strong as blue cheese normally does. The dressing was a slightly sweet vinaigrette. Overall, all the flavors went very well together, cheese included, and I would say it was one of the strongest dishes of the meal.

The star of the “office”, the pièce de rĂ©sistance was the burger which is made with a dry-aged beef patty sandwiched with a bed of arugula, caramelized onions, a mix of Maytag blue and Gruyere cheeses in between a soft bread roll. Although it looks rather simple and the ingredients do admittedly sound fancy, the burger tasted pretty darn heavenly. The flavors went so well together. The sweetness of the onions seemed to contrast with the sharpness from the cheese yet compliment the fatty, juicy beef patty… and amazingly enough, the arugula’s normally strong bitterness seemed mask by the other ingredients. It was definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

I didn’t try any of the beer, but I heard it has a pretty good selection that people have praised. However, I did have the water which is supposedly filtered via reverse osmosis. I’m not sure what that exactly means, and I’m not sure if knowing that somehow biased me, but I really thought that the water was the freshest, cleanest tasting water I have ever had. It was nicely chilled and came out of the tap behind the bar. Whatever the case, I still had to give some props to the water. Hehe!

Overall, I really loved the burger. The variety and taste of the other dishes were equally strong. I went to the Culver City location which I found to be pretty spacious and kind of charming. There was plenty of room and we ended up sitting on the patio overlooking a really cute shopping area that centered mainly on home interiors and furnishings. This seems to be in great contrast to the Santa Monica location which many people complained to be stressful and crowded.  There is a lot less seating available at that location, and you often find yourself camped out waiting for tables to free up.  I’ve never been so I can only say that seating at Culver City is pretty low stress.  Although there seems to be quite a bit of hype around this place, I still really liked it and would recommend this place for those you looking for high quality gourmet burgers.

Father’s Office
3229 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90034

PAFO Ratings for Father’s Office:
Price 4 stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3 ½ stars

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