Monday, June 22, 2009

The Best Burger, period.

When I was still in high school, my older cousin told me about a 21+ bar that she and her friends would go to. Its name was Father's Office and she said that she would take me there one day.

According to her, the service varied between awful to non-existent. To get a table you would have to hover around a group that was already seated and make it so uncomfortable for them to linger around that they'd quickly eat and scram. And if you're a picky eater and ask for substitutions, well they may just tell you to take a hike or let you sit there starving. Which beckons the obvious question that my naive teen-aged self would ask her next: "...why would you bother going through all of that trouble when there are so many burger places all over town?"

"Because it's the absolute best burger, period."

And just like that I've been dying to go ever since. She never had the chance to take me but I finally made it there this Saturday. Arriving at that doorstep, I was expecting to be intimidated by holier-than-thou workers and a snooty crowd.

What I found was a small, very casual and relaxed, almost a hole-in-the-wall bar in Santa Monica with a large selection of great beers on tap and friendly workers. My experience was much different than the horror stories she had told. True, there is not much in the way of "traditional" restaurant service but it's not really a restaurant to begin with. It is a bar that happens to serve food. The menu items are written on the wall. You walk up to the counter, open up a tab and place your order, take your number back to your table and "service" happens when they bring your food. Which brings me to...

The Sweet Potato Fries served with Garlic Aioli sauce. Yum. Each piece had the right amount of crisp and was not too sweet, not too salty. It had just the right amount of balance. Sometimes they're served in a mini shopping cart, other times they're (disappointingly) served in a metal basket which is the case with ours:

and of course, the whole reason for this venture The Office Burger:

Caramelized onions, Applewood bacon compote, Gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and arugula cooked medium between two slices of a French bun. And the actual ribeye patty. Wow. Delicious is an understatement. It is now the only burger I ever want to eat. And if you order the Spanish Mushrooms (with garlic, vinegar, olive oil) side dish and combine it with the burger, you'll get an even larger explosion of flavor that will spoil all other burgers for your tastebuds, forever.

Amazing that it took me about 7+ years to come here because of scheduling conflicts and the fact that I was afraid it would not be able to live up to my lofty expectations. That is 7+ years of hype that was continually building in my appetite. Yet in the end, it surpassed my expectations.

"Because it's the absolute best burger, period."