Culver City, CA
A bite without caramelized onions was a bite devoid of flavor.
I have been to both Father’s Office locations several times over the past few years, but I hadn’t had their burger in quite a while and a lot of people asked me about Father’s Office when they heard about my Burger Recon Mission. So when my cousin Lala (nickname, don’t judge) called me to meet her there for a post work de-stress session, I said absolutely.
We snagged a table after waiting (like hungry sharks) a few minutes for someone to leave and began pouring over the beer list. She settled on the Saint Bernardus Triple and I went with the Alagash White. The setup of Father’s Office Culver City is a little odd. You basically stand in line at either of the two computer registers along the bar and place your order there (for both food and drink.) The Bartender pours your drink immediately, and you get a number for the food. I ordered the Father’s Office Burger (the only one there is) and Lala ordered the garlic parsley fries and a cheese plate.
The fries are delicious! They’re served with a garlic lemon aioli and they’re skinny, golden and crisp. I would order them anytime I’m there- perfect for eating with beer. They come out in a mini frying basket and aren’t greasy. The aioli- I would smear it on anything- is well seasoned and matches the fries nicely. Lala’s cheese plate came out fast and she really enjoyed the spread with her Saint Bernardus. I wasn’t thrilled with the Alagash White by itself, but with the fries the flavors were better.
When my burger came out it was served on a French roll with arugula, caramelized onion, bacon, gruyere, and blue cheese. It was already soggy on the bottom with juice from the burger, which made me wonder if my burger was just that juicy, or if it may have been sitting a wee bit too long. When you bite into it you taste the onions- and they are delicious- but they overpowered everything else. It definitely got messy and slipped apart a bit.
If you took a bite that didn’t happen to have caramelized onions, there wasn’t much flavor there. It’s almost as if the meat hadn’t been seasoned and the bacon didn’t exist- which by the way, I never actually saw the bacon. Maybe it was buried under the cheese, but I couldn’t find its texture either. I’m confused about why they’re serving a round burger on an oblong French roll. Gruyere and Blue cheese are usually pretty strongly flavored cheeses, but they seemed to get lost in there. Maybe they just weren’t on their game that night, or maybe the quality of their ingredients is slipping- either way, the beer and fries easily outshined the burger. The aioli outshined the burger. (Maybe the aioli should go on the burger… just sayin’) We went back for more drinks, and I opted for the Alaskan White, which I liked much more than the Alagash; it was more refreshing. Lala went for the Dolcetta wine by Palmina.
The bar was crowded and a nice buzz of friendly conversation and music filled the background. Everyone there was young, with groups of coworkers, friends and awkward first dates. Prices for beer and wine are consistent with similar venues. Ironically, the beer I liked best –Alaskan White- was the cheapest drink we had all night at only $6. The burger is $12.50, no substitutions/additions or anything of the sort, which is overpriced for what I received. It’s also hard to judge what to tip because the bus boys were polite, attentive and fast, but the bar isn’t since you really just stand in line and wait your turn. I realize that on a Friday or Saturday night, when it’s more drinks and less food, the service is probably better, but I wasn’t impressed.
Bottom line: I would order the burger again if I was there and hungry, BUT if someone said to me, “Let’s go get a burger tonight!” Father’s Office wouldn’t make my short list.