Monday, December 05, 2011
Short Order: A first taste
Everyone's heading to Farmer's Market to see what Mozza's Nancy Silverton, Bill Chait and the late Amy Pressman have done to wow the city's burger enthusiasts So for now, an early lunch at Short Order is the best way to avoid the fledgling burger destination's inevitable early service glitches.
Arriving at noon on Friday, we had our choice of tables and found a cozy corner upstairs opposite the bar. Short Order's decor is as adorable as can be, with Eames barstools, Danish modern chairs, vintage kitchen utensils, tiny tabletop thyme pails and filament lights hitting just about every possible design note at once. Servers in perky striped Ts complete the picture.
I had a hard time choosing between the Frisee lardon raft -- a burger topped with frisee, egg and lardons; or the pork burger with rapini or turkey burger with sage cheddar. Since I had recently eaten at Gott's Roadside in Napa, I tried Ida's Original Burger ($11) for purposes of comparison. While Gott's serves a fine, non-grass fed Apple Pan-type burger for $8, Short Order's grass-fed model, with cheddar, pickles and tomato, was far more indulgent with a pillowy bun and deep beefy taste. Creamy secret sauce on both pieces of the bun makes it a little too messy, but the flavor is inarguably terrific.
Our table's other orders weren't quite as successful: One friend's lamb burger (above) could have used more seasonings to mellow the overly-assertive Sonoma ground lamb -- neither of us enjoyed the one-note flavor despite its feta topping. Another friend's grilled cheese looked extremely greasy; like other "gourmet" grilled cheese sandwiches it was nearly deep-fried, ruining the subtle balance between bread, cheese and frying that the sandwich requires.
So far at least, it seems the beef models are the way to go, but we barely grazed the menu which also features pies, malts, signature "Short Order Spuds." Coming in January is a brunch menu featuring a Benedict Burger and Breakfast Cobb Salad.
Despite the early hour, it was my day off and I couldn't pass up one of Julian Cox's superb cocktails, made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon and pomegranate agrodulce. It was small but delicious and we immediately decided that cocktails and fries would have to become a regular thing. Downstairs, the seating is more exposed to the sun and only the more basic burgers are available, so upstairs is the way to go if you want cocktails or lamb or pork burgers.
The Verdict: I rarely eat burgers, so the chance to have a good grass-fed one is worth $11 to me, and all Short Order's ingredients are top flight. But order a $17 tuna burger, Spuds ($4) with truffle salt ($2 extra) and a $12 cocktail, and Short Order turns out to be one pricey lunch for a casual spot. With the bar open until 1 a.m. on weekends, it's a shot in the arm for Farmer's Market, which generally closes down much earlier.
Farmer's Market (6333 W. 3rd St., Stall #110