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Father's Office, Santa Monica

It’s hip, it’s happening, it’s loud, it’s chaotic, and it’s totally packed dude, like bodasciously mega-packed. I’ve heard about Father’s Office when I was living in LA. “Go for the burger dude.” Thanks Johnny Utah for the advice. 

I was talking with another foodie, James Collier, who was down in LA for a food bloggers conference and the Father’s Office Burger came up. I recall hearing that it was good, but not earthshattering good.

With all these recommendations, it took simply the suggestion from a former analyst and friend of mine, Monica to get me to go. I trusted her as an analyst; so why not trust her foodie senses?

As we walked in, I get carded. Really. This automatically makes me think we’re going to a bar that serves food, rather than a restaurant that serves drinks. All seating is first come, first serve, like a bar. All orders and drinks are taken at the bar. There are no waiters, only expeditors and bussers. The place is a 1200 square foot space with a narrow space in between tables.

The food was above average across the board, but unbalanced. To their credit, our food came out fast, hot, and generally well prepared.

We started with a smoked eel, slivered onions, and coddled egg. The four pieces of smoked eel was outstanding and delicate. I wish I could have had 4 more pieces of eel. However, the softball sized amount of slivered red onion that accompanied the eel was way too much. Talk about onion breath! The coddled egg, while wonderfully cooked, served almost no purpose since there wasn’t a starch on the plate or the table to mop up all that yolky goodness.

We also ordered the sobresada. It was good, but not over the top. The bread was crispy around the edges and not uniformly crispy, which bugged me. I know, I’m being picky. I think I used some of the bread to sop up the egg yolk from the eel dish and the egg, bread, and meat combo worked for me.

As I mentioned, Father’s Office is known for its burgers and the burger didn’t disappoint. I don’t think it was the best burger I’ve ever had, but it was well seasoned and prepared. I ate the burger through our entire meal. Lots of arugula, caramelized onions with balsamic, and medium rare beef all good. I think I might have even dipped my burger into the egg yolk from the eel dish as well. I can’t let quality egg yolk go to waste; I needed bread damn it.

One outstanding, yet simple item were the sautéed mushrooms. I loved these. In fact, I was using my fork and burger to scoop up the mushrooms and sauce (read butter) just so I wouldn’t waste anything. Probably the least technical item of the night, but the simplicity spoke to me.

Lastly, the sweet potato fries were good, but the ubiquitous alternative menu item to the humble,  regular potato fries, I’m tired of. I think I was tired of them 3 years ago. There’s nothing more healthy about a deep fried sweet potato than a regular spud. They’re Deep Fried. And ranch is less healthy than ketchup.

I’d say Father’s Office is an experience. The food is good. The beer is good. A busy crowd is good. As someone who has eaten many a meal alone because of work, I wouldn’t come here alone. I wouldn’t make this my regular stop if I were local either. It’s not an alone type of place. It’s a social place to be quickly served, well fed, and well imbibed. I still believe that it’s a bar, that happens to serve good food. Just not a bar I’d go to alone for a quiet drink and a burger.

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