99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Father's Office

photo by Anne Fishbein

Both locations of Father’s Office, Sang Yoon’s duo of gastropubs, are basically temples to the idea of after-work drinks. It’s as if the chef imagined exactly what you’d want after a day of drudgery. Of course you’d want beer, lots of it, and really good beer at that. You’d want food, not too complicated or expensive, but also a huge step up from crappy bar food. You’d want a place for grown-ups; no kids allowed. (Especially if you have to go home to your own kids, who wants to see other people’s kids while you’re trying to unwind? And if you don’t have kids ... um, who wants to see other people’s kids while you’re trying to unwind?) You’d want a burger — a great burger, a burger that’s been crafted to hit all the pleasure receptors: caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag blue cheese, bacon, arugula and tomato compote. The Santa Monica location feels a bit more like a pleasantly worn beer den; the Culver City location is more sleek and upscale. But both successfully conjure the feeling that this is the beer bar built just for you. No wonder it’s the restaurant that spawned a thousand gastropubs.

-- Besha Rodell