Short Order LA (Los Angeles, CA)
Short Order LA
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 11/19/11
Short Order is the newest addition to the Farmers Market/Grove dining options in mid-city, opened Friday. The concept is rather simple, centered on high quality burgers and conceived by the late Amy Pressman and Mozza’s Nancy Silverton. I first had a taste of Short Order at this year’s Taste of the Nation, where one of the highlights was a bolognese slider. It was both different and delicious; just like that, my interest was piqued.
The restaurant had a friends and family night Thursday and grand opened Friday. Overwhelming reports from those nights praised the good food, but also expressed frustration at extremely long waits for food. I will admit I was a little apprehensive about going so soon, but I’m glad I did.
The restaurant has two floors, with an abbreviated menu on the ground level (take-out window shown above). When we first arrived, we were told the upstairs was closed to customers because it was packed full. Bummer. We were willing to wait, so we asked the host to check how long the wait would be. When he came back, he said that there were two seats available at the bar (there were actually four empty spots). Score!
Dining at the bar was the perfect opportunity to see Julian Cox (who has to be the busiest man in LA mixology this year) and his team in action. Cox is in charge of the cocktails; a limited list of craft beers and wines are also available.
Fistful of Dollars craft method brandy, Combier, Amaro Montanegro, fresh lemon, cinnamon bark syrup, angostura, spiced castor sugar
Palma Fizz vodka, szechuan pepper corn ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, Bruce Cost’s unfiltered ginger ale, rose water
I really enjoyed the Palma Fizz, lightly carbonated with ginger and lime notes up front. Thankfully, the cocktail contained just the flavor and not the heat (or numbing sensation) of the szechuan peppercorns. The Fistful of Dollars had a strong brandy flavor, complemented by the lemon rind and some cinnamon spice.
The menu features 7-9 burger options (beef, turkey, pork, lamb and tuna are the proteins offered), and a few other sandwiches and salads. Frozen custard is made in-house with Northern California’s Straus Creamery dairy (same dairy as San Francisco’s Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe); a variety of custard shakes are offered as well. We opted to try three burgers, a custard shake, and fully-loaded spuds (french fries weren’t available).
Short Order Burger grass-fed beef, morbier, griddled mushrooms, bibb, mustardy mayo
The first thing I noticed here was the beef. A thick patty was cooked medium-rare, pink/red throughout. Looked like the cross-section of a perfectly grilled steak. Clearly the restaurant wanted to showcase this meat and it didn’t disappoint – beefy and juicy, delicious. Some mushrooms added an extra earthy flavor, while the lettuce was crisp and cool. The bun was soft, warm and yielding to each bite. A well-constructed and tasty burger.
Lamb Burger Sonoma lamb, feta, lamb’s lettuce, salsa verde
This lamb burger wasn’t nearly as pink as the beef; the temperature was medium-ish, almost medium-well (not sure if this was intentional). The lamb flavor was there, slightly gamey, complemented by a rich feta cheese. Not quite as exciting as the Short Order Burger, but I gobbled this down just as easily.
Frisée Lardon Raft grass-fed beef, frisée, artisan slab bacon pieces, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette
The raft was a variation on the burger where an uncut bun served as a “raft” on the bottom, while the rest of the ingredients were piled on top, open-faced. Unfortunately, the egg yolk broke, and the kitchen opted to present it upside-down (sigh). As with the Short Order burger, the perfectly cooked slab of grass-fed beef was tasty on its own. A fried egg and smoky chunks of bacon added a ton more flavor and richness, while the frisee, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette, helped to cut through some of the richness. I didn’t see the appeal of the raft over a typical burger (makes it more of a fork-and-knife sandwich), but the flavors were all there.
Coffee Malt Custard Shake
As expected, the shake was rich and had a deep coffee, malty flavor. I heard that some spiked shakes will be offered in the future, so I’d be interested to see what Cox puts together here.
Short Order Spuds with Dipping Sauce and Truffle Salt
The dipping sauce and truffle salt were both optional add-ons at $2 apiece, but we decided to go all out on these spuds. These potato wedge-like creations were baked, lightly smashed then fried, yielding a very crispy exterior and fluffy interior. Fried potatoes are almost always better with truffle salt, but these would have been delicious on their own. The dipping sauce, a sour cream/chive/bacon mix, clearly resembled the flavors of a baked potato.
While waiting for dessert, I asked the bar to create a cocktail to pair with our pie.
Bee’s Kiss 12-yr Jamaican rum, cream, honey, cinnamon
Pear Pie vanilla custard
A selection of pies will be available depending on the season (pear and cranberry were available this night). The pie was good, though I wish it was warm (maybe I’m just being picky) to capitalize on the hot-cold combination with the custard. The vanilla custard was quite delicious on its own, but did go very well with the pie. The cocktail was a strong pairing; its own creamy sweetness was a welcome addition to the dessert (I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway through).
Short Order is a place to splurge (calorie-wise) on some hearty burgers, crisp potatoes and thick custard shakes. Maybe even some pie a la mode. I think a lot of places can make a good burger or good fries, but it doesn’t always come together. Short Order has strengths in both of these, and even has good pie, custard and Julian Cox cocktails to boot. Hard to go wrong with that – I expect the restaurant to be popular for the foreseeable future.
Service was good (although I really wish that egg was right-side-up) and our food came out quickly. I imagine the restaurant is still working out some kinks in its system, but there appeared to be a marked improvement already.
Only you could make burgers look so gorgeous!
Hah thank you, but nonsense! The lighting at the bar was pretty good..
I usually avoid restos that have just opened up, but this post has me craving a really good burger! And about the pie, it should have totally been served warm. Otherwise, what’s the point of a la mode?!
Ha I know you have more of a wait-and-see approach on the restaurant front. I’m glad you agree on the pie! Definitely would’ve made a huge difference, but wouldn’t stop me from ordering one again.
I want a burger right now!
Haha at 2am you’re out of luck. They open at 5pm though!
as always, a few questions to gauge quality:
1. how does it compare to rustic canyon, morton’s, and 25 degrees’ burgers? (currently my favorites in LA)
2. can you expand a bit more on patty quality / flavor? for me, the patties at Fathers Office are the best coz they’re aged and have that funky beefy slightly irony flavor.. too bad the caramelized onions turn the entire burger a bit too sweet for me…
1. It’s hard for me to gauge burgers because so many personal preferences come into play, and a lot of time can pass in between tastes. For me, Rustic Canyon’s had too much mayo/aioli. At 25 degrees, that’s tricky…I’ve had one good and one mediocre experience there, and I thought they had some burgers that were definitely more interesting than what we tried at SO (I’m thinking of the proscuitto-burrata-pesto). And Morton’s, I quite frankly can’t remember the specifics. When considering sides/dessert/drinks, I think SO has them beat though.
2. I do prefer FO’s beef to SO’s; the dry aging does make a difference…and I like the onions in it! I think it’s still my favorite burger in the city…
Thanks for the lowdown, Darin. Just had a burger for lunch and am already craving another one!
Haha no problem…so many burgers, so little time.