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Last Friday I spent the evening with close friends and some newer acquaintances at an LA favorite: Father’s Office. For those readers outside the area, Father’s Office is a gastro pub (probably responsible for the term as far as Los Angeles is concerned) that features an excellent beer list, with a fair selection of wines and drinks to accompany delectable treats from a seasonal menu. While the beer & wine menus may be upgraded and the food might be altered to accommodate new vegetables and meats that become available, a constant fixture will always be the burger.

There are many things that interest me about the newer Father’s Office, not the original in Santa Monica; the communal hand washing outside of the bathrooms (in short, the layout), the clientele is always different (not your average bar goers) and the strict adherence to the menu—no substitutions! They offer a lot of nice choices like grilled Sonoma lamb, braised oxtail, duck confit salad yet most people come for the acclaimed cheeseburger.

Well, the cheeseburger is no secret to Angelenos—it is frequently said to be one of the best served in the city. It is packed with a great grind of meat stacked in a patty nearly an inch thick served with arugula, caramelized onions, gruyere, Maytag blue cheese, bacon compote wedged inside a soft brioche bun that resembles a submarine sandwich (demisubmarine). The patty is juicy and the salty sweet combination between the bacon compote and the onions is played up to the nth degree. The burger is a little busy and the flavors crowd your palate—masking what is otherwise a perfect grind. The finish is a mixture of cheese and a tiny spice from the rocket (arugula) as the generous patty disappears into the ether. It becomes messy too as the bun breaks down like a clunky submarine, leaving the jus on your fingers and in the basket.

I chose a central California syrah to pair with my main selection the duck leg confit salad but saved some room for a couple of shared bites of the many burgers that were on the group’s table. Surprisingly the Melville syrah went well with both but was definitely better suited for the gaminess of the duck.

The aforementioned salad was executed well, the dressing, tart vinaigrette that flowed over some fresh greens, figs, duck leg confit and nuts arrived shortly after an order lapping the burgers at my table. The salad, no matter how fancy, was just a salad but it’s nice to try if you feel like something light and substantial. The chef is capable of creating a lot of fantastic foods that make this bar a real treat to go to—especially if you are not thrifty. The consistency is also worthy of a cheer for the few times I have gone the same dish arrives each and every time.

So our lively group enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and when our pockets were lighter we packed up and shared four of my bottles of wine (responsibly!!!) at a friend’s house—more on that in a future blog. Father’s Office deserves the title of truly stellar gastro pub (not because of the burger, which falls short in my opinion) because of the diversity of the menu, beverage list and the ambiance.

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