No movie, but most definitely dinner!
Been to Father’s Office on Montana years ago, and just to drink… For whatever reason, I did not eat. It was a fun local spot, but very small and very smokey, back in the day. That is my memory… small, dark and smokey, but great beers on tap.
Then the talk started up. about how they were serving THE best burger in LA. But it came only one way. There were no substitutions and NO KETCHUP. Hmmm… Was Sang Yoon pretending he was the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld?
Friends and family would go and rave, but I did not make it. Still not sure why.
Then they opened Version 2.0 in Culver City… the bastion of all that is hip and happening right now, especially on the dining front. Still I did not go, even with incredible reviews… and not just for the burgers… The Duck Prosciutto Salad… The Braised Pork Belly (the hot item of the year)… The Organic Beet Salad…
Finally, my friend Russ said he was taking me there for my birthday… so last night, about a month after the fact, which is actually good for us… usually it is months later… we waltzed in to the very hip and happening hot spot.
The Helms Bakery Building is going through some major fixes, so the parking is a bit tricky, but the dark wooded restaurant is perfect. Warm and welcoming and filled with real but pretty people. It seemed like everyone was on a first date, but I did see a few single folks, so if you’re looking for that and get lucky to grab a spot at a communal table with like-minded people, you might just walk away with someone to come back with… And you will want to come back.
This is a gastropub in every sense of the word. Even with the sleek interior, it feels like a neighborhood joint. The bartenders are knowledgable and accommodating and the wall of taps is visually cool and impressive, as is the list of beers!
I had a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, which was delicious on its own, but really held up well to the food and truly complimented the flavors. We each had the burger. Mine was a perfect medium rare… Nice to get a burger cooked exactly the way you order it… and came on a French Roll that was perfectly toasted. The outside had just the right crunch and crispiness, with a few crumbs flaking off with each bite. The inside was fluffy and stuffed with arugula, amazing grilled onions, Gruyre cheese and the most delicious burger I have had in some time. The shoestring fries were equally delicious and I voraciously dipped them in the aioli that came on the side. We also had the Duck Prosciutto Salad which came covered in slices of some heavenly, artisanal cheddar. My only gripe was that it was a bit over dressed… And we had one of the specials, the Grilled Mission Figs wrapped in Iberico (I think) and stuffed with Goat Cheese… This was a celebration in your mouth… Spanish sushi if you will…
We walked out stuffed and satisfied, and I will most definitely go back. Most folks say you go to the Culver City locale for the scene and the Santa Monica one to focus on the beer and burger and not who is around you. I can see that. I’ll let you know.