It was girls night out at the new Father’s Office at the Helms Bakery Building in Culver City earlier this week. The second incarnation of this insanely trendy Santa Monica-born gastropub opened a month ago to massive hype and lines worthy of holidays at Disneyland. We figured some of the initial frenzy had probably died down by now, and, fortunately, we were right. My friends Janine and Kerith showed up at 6 p.m., and even though the place was buzzing, we had no trouble getting a table. What a refreshing change from the inaugural experience Victor and I had at the phone-booth-sized Father’s Office in Santa Monica. There we had to shovel in our burgers and beer standing up on one foot while using the other to kick away competitors. The Culver City space is much larger, with indoor and sidewalk seating, although the same rules apply. You order everything at the bar and take a plastic number back to your table to wait for delivery. No substitutions. No whining.
No reason to whine, really. The food is hearty and hand-licking delicious. All three of us ordered the burger. Of course. You have to get the burger. It’s legendary in size, spilling out of the bun, juicier than any Juicy Couture sweats and decadently dressed with sweet carmelized onions, bacon, Gruyere and Maytag blue cheese and arugula. My favorite part? No ketchup anywhere. I abhor ketchup. Always have. I had no trouble devouring the entire burger. And when Kerith filled up and sent the second half of hers away, I flagged down the server and snatched it back. I knew Victor would be pleased. He and I split the leftovers later.
FO’s side dishes get less attention, but man, oh man, were those Spanish mushrooms garlicky and good. Even the white anchovies were reminiscent of the ones we ate regularly on our honeymoon in Italy last September. After examining the impressive wall of beer, I washed all the pub grub down with a spicy, hoppy and fruity beer called the Russian River Brewing Damnation. Damn, was I happy. Sometimes you should believe the hype.
Father’s Office, 3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, 310-815-9820