There is no shortage of good food or good chefs today in L.A. This point was emphasized even more for me on a recent trip to Santa Barbara where we were hard pressed to find a place where we wanted to eat. So I should be careful when writing reviews like the one I am about to write because I now realize that my bar is so much higher than many others after being utterly spoiled for a full year now (ever since moving from the Palm Springs area to Venice Beach) on the culinary offerings of the City of Angels.
This particular piece is about the regular old burger. For almost eight months, Short Order has been on my “to try” list. The burger place at the Grove was debuted last year to much fanfare as collaboration between friends and superstar chefs Nancy Silverton (Mozza) and Amy Pressman (Old Town Bakery). Pressman passed away from cancer shortly before the place opened and Silverton went on anyway providing what she and Pressman would cook in their own kitchens. This included a meaty burger with a lamb version calling my name.
The Cute Gardener, who is much more discerning than me and not easily seduced immediately by hype, suggested we wait until the kinks got worked out before trying the place. What we found when we did was a very highly priced version of an American diner.
My lamb burger was the best I have ever had. The meat was cooked perfectly rare and the portion of arugula and the smattering of feta were in perfect ratio to the meat. Every bite was soft and full of tanginess surrounded by pillow-y tufts of bun. But for $15 on the second deck of a restaurant directly beneath the weekend sun, I would be hard-pressed to want to go back rather than trying to emulate the recipe at home.
I was also excited to see fried pickles on the menu and although the seasoning on them was great, it overpowered the actual pickles. Nancy’s Backyard Burger, for $14, was the CG’s choice of meal and although he said it tasted fine and the meat was cooked well, it wasn’t worthy of that price for him, especially with a high grade meat and sausage store serving up worldly varieties just steps away underneath us at the historical Farmers Market.
One neat touch is the presence of “adult” milkshakes on the menu. This one tasted exactly like an apple pie ala mode only spiked with alcohol.
It’s definitely worth a taste once but there are too many other burgers to try at more diplomatic prices on my list to return any time too soon.