The Great Burger Hunt (an endeavor I have just created) has taken me all sorts of places. Those places were mostly fast food restaurants, but most recently I spent some time at The Golden State, where I had a really solid burger. Well if you thought the search was over you were sorely mistaken, because I took this show on the road. All the way to Culver City. Welcome to Father’s Office.
Father’s Office is known not only for their burger, but also for the fact that you can’t make any substitutions on it. Lactose intolerant? You better get the heck out. If I’m being honest I find that idea of not having to make a choice quite appealing. Our lives are filled with hard decisions, so the fact that I can go to a restaurant and experience the food precisely how the chef intended it to be experienced is quite refreshing. And relaxing.
But then I get there and I still have to use my brain to choose things. How disappointing. Can’t you just choose my beer for me? Do I really need to decide how I want my meat cooked? Must I pick which sink to use in the bathroom? Perhaps I took the whole thing too far. Really, Father’s Office is a pretty nice place. There isn’t a whole lot in the way of service (you choose your own table – another decision! – and order at the bar), but you came for the food anyway.
And that burger is pretty good. One of my roommates (the one who always tries to ruin my plans) immediately declared the burger better than The Golde State’s. Father’s Office is definitely a quality burger – the meat is juicy, it is cooked perfectly, the cheese is melted just right – but I don’t know if I can whole-heartedly agree with that statement. I felt the meat was pretty equal at both locations, as was the preparation. So it really comes down to the rest of the burger experience. “The fixins’,” if you will. Father’s Office has a whole lot going on: there’s two types of cheese, you’ve got an onion/dressing situation, and a fancy bun. It is definitely more of an artisan experience than The Golden State was. But there is something to be said for the straight-forwardness of The Golden State’s burger; they don’t put too much on the plate, which allows the quality of meat to shine through. Isn’t that the whole point of a hamburger?
One area where Father’s Office definitely pulls ahead is in the French fry department. They give you a ton of shoestring fries. The fries are good, but they give you so many that you end up leaving a bunch at the end of the meal. What a waste.
The fry neglect was only made worse by the sides that my roommates ordered (and that I selfishly enjoyed). We had an order of brussel sprouts and an order of mushrooms. Neither is a food that a would normally seek out, but the way they were prepared was excellent. Brussel sprouts have made a huge comeback in the last six years, so they weren’t too much of a surprise, but the mushrooms were a revelation. I tend to stay away from fungus – as a rule – but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t popping these things like skittles. I guess it goes to show that if you add enough butter to anything it will start to taste good. And lose all nutritional value.
I’m not prepared to call the race just yet. I’m giving The Golden State the edge, but there are so many burgers out there that I may never be able to fully commit to one. Commitment: it’s tough, eh? And that’s what I’ll always find appealing about Father’s Office: even if it’s not the best burger I’ve ever had, at least they do the committing for me.