At least three new buzz-worthy burger joints have opened up in the L.A. area in the past six months, and Kenley and I of course have tried them all.
Each new restaurant is eagerly anticipated to see whether it can beat what many believe is the top dog (er, cow?) in burger-crazed Los Angeles: the Father’s Office burger. Or at least crack the top five. (Read our 2011 burger rankings here.)
We already told you about Fukuburger, a popular Vegas food truck that opened its first bricks-and-mortar location in Hollywood. You can read our take here.
Next up was Short Order, which opened in November to much fanfare, thanks to its pedigree.
Short Order is brought to you by chef Nancy Silverton, who owns the upscale Italian restaurant Osteria Mozza and its more casual sibling, Pizzeria Mozza (along with celebrity chef Mario Batali).
Located at the Original Farmers Market adjacent to The Grove shopping center, Short Order originally was supposed to be run by Silverton’s longtime friend and business partner, Amy Pressman. But sadly, Pressman died of cancer at the age of 53, a few weeks before the restaurant opened.
Before Short Order’s debut, Silverton was asked if Los Angeles needs another burger place. She told DineLA, “I think you always need another. Does the world need another Italian restaurant? I think the world needs anything that’s good.” Read the full interview with Silverton and Pressman here.
Short Order features local and sustainable meats, produce and dairy products, and there are blurbs on the menu about the origins of the food you’re eating. It was the second grass-fed beef burger we’ve tried (the first was at Rustic Canyon, which you can read about here.)
Unlike some restaurants that offer only one burger done one way, Short Order has eight on the menu, including a turkey burger, a pork burger, a lamb burger, a tuna burger and a veggie burger. And each burger has a different blend of meats.
I chose Ida’s Old School Burger, which is an homage to In-N-Out, the California burger classic.
Kenley had Nancy’s Backyard Burger, which is topped with bacon and avocado.
Everything in this town has avocado on it.
A slogan on Short Order’s cups reads, “Sloppy good burger,” and the phrase is quite accurate. The buns, which are made at Silverton’s La Brea Bakery, held up to the juicy burger and that secret sauce inspired by In-N-Out, but the juices still drenched the paper wrapping and made for a messy experience.
It’s a nice-looking burger, but you’ll definitely need to wash your hands well after this one.
The tomato, lettuce and onions indeed tasted really fresh. The “handmade,” organic pickles were thick, crunchy and actually added to the taste of the burger, unlike those limp, tasteless ones that just make the bun soggy.
The patty was big and juicy, but not as flavorful as others we’ve tried. Perhaps it’s an effect from the lack of fat, or perhaps the patties weren’t marinated like some of my favorite burgers are.
The burger is good, but we can’t say it will knock Father’s Office off its pedestal.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t be going back to Short Order.
One of the reasons we’ll definitely return is for the spuds. You can order the perfectly fried potato wedges with sour-cream dipping sauce that has bacon crumbled inside it — and piled on top of it.
You can also add truffle salt.
We’ll also return for Short Order’s custard shakes, which are inspired by legendary East Coast burger joint Shake Shack (yet another restaurant on our now-nationwide list). The shakes are made with organic ice cream and are rich and thick, indulgent and satisfying.
And in case you’re not in the mood for a burger, Short Order also has melts, grilled cheese, corn, pretzel pups and salads.
Some bloggers have complained about the price of the Short Order burger. At $12, it’s more expensive than some fast-casual places. But it’s also the same price as Father’s Office and cheaper than gourmet burgers at Comme Ca or Rustic Canyon, which start at $16.
Short Order also offers brunch on the weekends, which includes a Benedict burger and French toasted sausage, which sounds amazing.
Be prepared to wait. Short Order doesn’t mean fast. But the outdoor bar and patio at the corner of the Farmers Market is a great place to sit on a nice day. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can order from the window facing the inside of the Farmers Market and take your burger to one of the tables in the center of the market.
And if you want to try Silverton’s hamburger at home, you can find a recipe in the Los Angeles Times here.
And if all that isn’t enough, just around the corner in the Farmers Market is Short Order’s sister restaurant, Short Cake. Take your receipt from Short Order and get a 10 percent discount. Grab Nancy’s Favorite Chocolate Chip cookies or a peanut-butter bar to go, which tastes like those peanut-butter-and-honey balls you used to make as a kid. Absolutely divine.