Father's Office is home to the greatest burger and a vast selection of beers and wines. Originating in Santa Monica and with a second restaurant three times as big in Culver City, the "gastropub" is always crowded and buzzing with burger lovers and beer connoisseurs enjoying the delights from Owner and Head Chef Sang Yoon.
Yoon came from a fine-dining background, but was a notorious culinary rebel, always rejecting perceived rules of cooking etiquette. After receiving a cooking degree, he went to Spain and worked at various Tapa bars before returning hom eto Los Angeles. At the time, Father's Office on Montana Ave in Santa Monica was a small, local pub with no food. Yoon saw an opportunity to transform the bar into a "gastropub," a bar that serves food, but with no waiters or reservations like in restaurants. Yoon wanted to highlight beers, an underappreciated alcohol with considerable less prestigue than wine, even though its creation is more labor intensive.
When Father's Office opened under Yoon's direction, it became an instant hot spot as word traveled far and wide of it's glorious "Office Burger," the nation's first "gourmet" burger, priced at $12, that achieved huge public acclaim. Yoon created his masterpiece by making an Excel sheet of every burger he ever had, from local restaurants to faroff ski resorts. At the bottom of this list lay his favorite ingredients that would go into the Office Burger.
The thick, juicy patty is composed of a combination of New York-aged and fresh-ground chuck, best cooked Medium to preserve its savory, fatty taste. Ditching the old hamburger bun, a french baguette contains the patty and better absorb its juices. For additional flavor, the burger is topped with caramelized onions cooked in bacon (to add a hickory, BBQ-like essense), argula and guyer cheese (similar to blue cheese). The ensemble is gooey, messy, mouth-watering hamburger perfection. In fact, Yoon won't let you subsitute any of the ingredients due to his argument: "If I gave you crayons, could you better the Mona Lisa?" Despite his stubborn elitism, upwards of 200 burgers are consumed each weekend night.
My favorite compliment to the burger is a pungent Red ale to refresh the palete after eac, fatty bite. Father's Office also features over 60 different beers, from local microbreweres or foreign importers.
If you're not in the mood for a burger and beer, FO features a strong wine selection and other entrees such as delicious cuts of duck and a caprese salad of tomatoes and buffalo mozarella.
On weekday nights, it's best to arrive before 7:00pm, and much earlier on weekends. With no reservations, you'll have to have excellent table-hunting skills to figure out who might be on their out so you can sang their spot. Be warned, sometimes people will continue ordering beers long after their meal, in part because FO has an excellent music selection chosen by Yoon, a music afficionado who even guest-hosted an hour on KCRW radio.
In other restaurants, you might notice pricey burgers containing blue cheese, arugula and caramelized onions, but the original Office Burger, though imitated elsewhere, is never equaled.
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Eric Horwitz (FoodDude)
Ciao! My world in a nutshell: Born in the humble beach town of Ventura, CA I went to UCLA with ambitions to pursue journalism and film. I studied literature and picked up Italian … more
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