One Friday, the hubby and I headed into The Office. Not one of the ones where we work, my desk strewn with paperwork and parts and an endless supply of trade magazines. No, this was an office that promised a menu, a bar, and a patio on a nice evening. One where we could trade slacks for jeans and still be right at home. The location on the north side of the square downtown meant it was convenient to get to and, being after 5pm, parking was free in a metered lot. As we walked up the square, we started to hear music–we had forgotten there was live outdoor entertainment on the square on Fridays. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the restaurant, we realized that we would not be sitting outside in the nice weather. The music was blastingly loud, forcing you to yell to a person you were standing next to.
Instead, we opted to sit upstairs. The Office is in the space that Three Skillets used to occupy and Wild Rose before that. In every incarnation, I’ve loved this space. It’s been spruced up a bit, hanging large black and white canvases and adding a bar, but it’s still the same cozy spot with wide windows that I love. My husband and I were both impressed at how well insulated the building must be–we could not hear a note of the music outside. Luckily I had brought my sweater because the area also proved to be well air-conditioned.
We were seated immediately at a table draped in a long black tablecloth and topped with brown craft paper. Our chairs featured floor length black covers and a simple tie of brown twine. Our server took our drink orders and offered multiple recommendations. After some reflection, we selected two of his suggestions–the flank steak and pasta for me and the “haute” dog for my husband, which our server had warned was spicy.
It must have been a busy day, since they were out of a couple of the menu items, but we shared the upstairs area with only a few other patrons. While we waited for our dishes, I took in the decor which was carefully on trend. A large chalkboard listed specials with a breakfasty bent (an egg sandwich, french toast), and our silverware was wrapped in thick paper napkins. Mason jar centerpieces held coffee beans and were wrapped with a piece of twine which matched our chairs. I suspect it may usually hold something else–a candle or flower nestled between the beans but on this particular evening, there was nothing there.
Our dinners arrived and continued this style–arranged with some care, but not elaborately decorated.
From the description on the menu, I had thought the steak would be mixed in with the fettuccine (ala chicken Alfredo) and I was rather relieved to find it instead arranged next to the pasta. Cooked to a pink medium rare and pre-sliced, the flank steak was juicy and richly flavored, topped with just a bit of salt. The meat was tender, just firm enough that you needed to chew a bit, but far from tough.
The pasta was thin and relatively short for fettuccine, with a waviness that worked to lock the noodles together in small clumps. This meant that little fork twirling was needed cutting down on the fun factor, but also reducing the sauce splatters. The sauce was thick enough to cling well and had a lovely texture, but it was overly peppered, so that as I ate, of my tongue began burning.
The hubby enjoyed his haute dog (seen at the top of this post). Despite the double meats (the sausage is wrapped in mortadella which, although it sounds like a cheese, is a cured meat like salami), it was the veggies which caught his attention. Our server had mentioned that the mustard was housemade and spicy, and while my husband though the mustard was good, his medium spicy palate didn’t find it overly spicy. I was surprised by the size of his entree–I would have expected the haute dog to be the size of a single hot dog, instead it was the equivalent of two standard hot dogs. The chips were salted and housemade, with that lovely bit of tenderness that comes with housemade chips.
The Office’s Italian/American fusion menu has lots of great choices that range from the solidly familiar (roast chicken with mashed potatoes and collard greens) to more adventurous spins on classics (a Croque Monsieur with prosciutto and bechamel). The service ran seamlessly, our server was friendly, attentive, and had a knack for appearing before we were looking for him. I thoroughly enjoyed my steak but I feel like even after a few months in business they are still getting their feet under them culinary-wise. Still, I would encourage you to give it a try, and I’ll be back to try more of the menu.