The new Office Too not too bad…

The Office Too is located on South Topeka Boulevard

Tricia Peterson / Washburn Review

I heard the new Office Too had a great menu, so I thought I would check it out. I was immediately surprised with what I found, and I was so impressed that I got my hopes up – not such a good idea.

The “first” Office location is downtown, but recently the owners decided to open a second one on South Topeka Boulevard, so they just named it the The Office Too. It has the same menu, drinks and prices but the hours at The Office Too extend until 5 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

The initial atmosphere is that of a bar, and because it is a dueling piano bar there are piano keys painted on the walls. There are booths and tables, as well as many seats available at the bar, which is located in the middle of the room. During nice weather they also offer a patio with a smoking section.

The menu is not your typical bar menu, and you can find a variety of appetizers and entrees that you wouldn’t find at other bars – shrimp cocktail and fresh oysters on the half shell for example.  I played it safe and ordered the bruschetta and fried pickles. Both were good, but lacking on small details.

The bruschetta bread was my favorite of the two because the tomatoes were fresh, and seasoned just right. With basil chiffonade, olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar the tomato mixture was spot on.  The bread they placed this tomato mixture on, on the other hand, was not.  It was as if the chef took French bread and sliced two-inch thick slices, lightly melted parmesan cheese, and then plopped the tomatoes on it, causing the bread to get soggy, fast.  If only they had toasted the bread sufficiently the entire dish would have made more sense. I must also note that on the menu they claim the tomatoes are roasted 24 hours, which I thought they seemed like fresh tomatoes. I was disappointed with this because I was looking forward to trying bruschetta bread that wasn’t like any I had tried before.

The fried pickles were my least favorite of my entire visit – soggy and salty, which is not what I wanted. I didn’t finish them and I always finish my fried pickles. The batter slid off the pickles and seemed oversalted, which with the briny-ness of the pickles, there should be little salt, if any.

I then ordered The Office Cristo, which is a fried sandwich. Each sandwich is served with a choice of sides, French fries, onion rings, cole slaw, side salad or kettle chips, and comes with a pickle spear. The Office Cristo is basically a Monty Cristo sandwich which consists of turkey, ham and Swiss cheese layered on bread, then battered and deep-fat-fried.  After it’s golden brown and crispy, powdered sugar is sprinkled on top and it is served with raspberry preserves.

The sharpness of the Swiss combined with the sweetness of the powdered sugar and preserves combine wonderfully.  I spread the jam on the top of the sandwich and then ate it because the preserves are more chunky than smooth and it’s difficult to dip the sandwich. I thought this sandwich was wonderful and would order it again, the appetizers not so much.

Another sandwich I tried was the pastrami sandwich.  I was expecting pastrami and I got roast beef. Granted the roast beef had good flavor, but the chef also cut the meat the wrong way. The cut needs to go against the grain, not with it which someone missed because parts of my sandwich were extremely chewy.  It was served with provolone cheese with an herbed mayonnaise.  The flavor was there but disappointing if you are expecting pastrami.

The staff did an excellent job in taking care of me, refilled my drink and even noticed the onions in my salad and had it remade for me, without complaining. Most of the food was good, yet some left me wanting more, especially after getting excited for bruschetta bread.

Overall my experience at the Office Too was alright, and I plan on going back some night for the dueling piano bar.  I might even check out the (first) one downtown.