Monday, February 20, 2012


(Short Order – Nancy Silverton’s New Burger Joint)

My name is Ilona and I’m a burgerholic. 

If this were a perfect world, I’d eat one every day.  My perfect job would be to review cheeseburgers around the world… but the world (and life) is not perfect.  I’d be elephantine.  Don’t get me wrong, I love elephants – I just don’t want to ape them in weight.

But, I do get to review cheeseburgers for my own blog, and I found a new favorite right in my own back yard (well, really “over the hill” from the Valley to the city part of LA)…

Sometime ago I wrote about the burgers that Nancy Silverton, one of America’s premiere chefs, makes at home. I called them Nancy Burgers and told y’all about her perfect ground beef blend and how she recommends cooking them.

Well Nancy, in celebration of her love for burgers, along with her partner, restaurateur Bill Chait, recently opened up her first burger joint, Short Order, located in the famed Los Angeles Farmer’s Market.  And though the restaurant is named “Short Order” – it’s anything but fast food. These are real burgers from delicious ground beef cooked to perfection.

For my first visit, I took my friend Cindra, a fellow cheeseburgerholic.  We take each other out for lunch for our birthdays, and her choice this year was a Short Order birthday. 

The restaurant has a patio and "indoors" with sort of communal sitting downstairs

and a covered deck with separate tables and enclosed room w/ tables and a bar upstairs.   

We wanted to chat and catch up so we took a deuce on the upstairs deck.

Did I mention that Short Order has a full bar – not just wine and beer?  It does. 

So as is our birthday lunch custom, we ordered Bloody Marys.  Oops!  No Bloody Marys.  They don’t make them. They don’t have tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix.  Duh – what?!  OK, a big negative, and we were disappointed, but we were game, so Cindra decided to try one of Short Order’s “fancy” cocktails – Morning Glory Fizz, a drink consisting of scotch, lemon, sugar, egg white and absinthe.  It tasted pretty good – but really was just a variation of the scotch sour.  I opted for a vodka martini with olives.  Oops!  No olives.  They don’t have them  Duh – what?!  But, I could have my martini w/ a lemon peel.  OK, another negative, but we were there for the burgers.

We both decided on “Ida’s Old School Burger” (named after a 17 year old family friend).  Grass-fed beef, cheddar, pickles, tomato, griddled onion, iceberg lettuce and a secret sauce, all on a homemade bun… it was a “Dagwood” of cheeseburgers.  Burgers are cooked to a perfect medium rare, unless you specify otherwise. Cindra wanted hers more medium-well and I had it the way Nancy wanted me to have it… both of our burgers were just the way we liked them.  We ate. We ooh-ed. We ah-ed.  We loved every bite.

For our “side,” we went with the old school fries – shoestring style – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Yum.

Our waitress, knowing we were disappointedly-deprived of our Bloody Mary’s, brought out a bottle of white wine the restaurant just ordered for its “wine cellar” and gave us a glass on the house.   

The wine was good, but the service she gave us and the acknowledgement of our disappointment was even better.

And, since this was a birthday lunch – dessert was in order and Cindra ordered “Nancy’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie” w/ TCHO chocolate.  It was delicious and big enough I could have put a candle in it.  I sang one bar of “Happy Birthday,” anyway.  And, it was a happy and satisfying birthday lunch.

Then it was my turn, birthday-wise.  Every year my friend Michael takes me to a fun diner or dive or food truck to indulge my “gourmet” comfort food cravings.  He’s also my cheeseburger enabler. A fan of Nancy’s, Richard joined us.  Again, I found myself on the upstairs deck, sipping water that’s served in Mason jars and perusing the menu.

I decided to have another martini (no I’m not trying to revive the martini lunch) with a lemon peel since they still had no tomato juice or olives.

The day was a perfect medium-warm and I decided that, this time, I would try Nancy’s Backyard Burger, made with her blend of dry-aged beef and topped with North Country Smokehouse applewood bacon, comte (cheese), avocado, heirloom tomatoes, onion, iceberg lettuce and spicy mayo.  I love all those things, but knew that this was going to be an even bigger “Dagwood” burger, so I asked for everything (but the cheese) on the side… besides I really wanted to taste this incredible grilled beef and cheddar w/ no frills.

Richard ordered the same burger, but with everything piled on top the way Nancy intended.

Michael opted for Ida’s burger – the one I had on my first visit.

Biting into my Nancy burger, with the beef juicy-ily medium-rare and the cheddar melted to perfection, I soared into burger heaven.

This time we ordered the Short Order Spuds which are small potatoes, cooked, crushed, then deep-fried so they’re soft and crunch all in the same bite.  Loved them! 

Michael ordered a vanilla malt which was too thick, it was like eating Hagen Daas vanilla ice cream and not drinking a malt.

Other choices on the menu are delicious-sounding pork, lamb, turkey, and tuna burgers, along with a double-double vegetarian chick pea patty burger, with yogurt sauce, harissa, cucumbers and iceberg lettuce for non-meat eating crowd.

Or you can get a grilled cheese, patty melt, tuna melt, corn pups (miniature corn dogs) or a mac ‘n’ cheese raft to name just a few selections.  And, yes, even a salad or two.

What can I say, the full bar may not serve a full menu of cocktails – and the overly sweet, way too thick malt needs a rethinking, but…

Short Order is very long on great burgers.

Short Order
6333 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90036

No reservations.  First come, first serve

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