What: Burgers, fries, American food at a gastropub Where: Father's Office in Santa Monica and Culver City
Must-Order: Burger, regular fries, sweet potato fries, chef's special appetizers
The Verdict: In any city there needs to be a quality, reliable grub 'n pub. A place where you can retreat when you've had a bad day, down a few pints of beer and scarf down a big, fatty meal. Santa Monica and Culver City has that place: Father's Office. In Santa Monica, the gastropub is small, low-key, crowded and casual. Culver City offers a more spacious environment with the same delicious menu, although still crowded and casual.
Come in and peruse the beer menu offering a copious selection of lagers, ales, stouts and ciders. And after you've enjoyed a few pilsners, make sure you order a burger and fries.
Father's Office uses a thick slab of dry aged beef, grills it medium-rare, and plates it neatly on a french baguette with gruyere, blue cheese, baby arugula and a special house sauce. What makes their burgers so remarkable is the elegant take on simple ingredients. All it really is is meat, cheese and greens on bread. But the bread is fresh and crispy on the outside, the arugula is fresh, the cheese is high quality, and only the best beef is used. The result is a burger delicious enough to erase any remnants of a bad day that a beer just won't wash down.
As for the fries, I'm not much of a sweet potato fan, but Father's Office fries up a mean order. I prefer the shoestring fries with an extra side of garlic aioli. And if you're really hungry, make sure you get a chef's special appetizer, which change fairly often. Last time I dined here I ordered a dozen raw oysters -- fresh and cold -- and pancetta croquettes, which were salty yet delicate.
Oh, and if you want try your hand at a home-made Father's Office burger, check out BurgerFiles for a thorough recipe deconstructed by the LA Times' Test Kitchen and food critic Charles Perry.