Shorty's .32: Mixed Emotions
I finally got around to trying Shorty's .32 last night. I say, "finally", because they are very close by, and have gotten so much praise over the past year for being a fabulous-neighborhood-spot-looking-for-local-regulars that I couldn't help but be intrigued.
We were in the mood for burgers, and not wanting to change out of our jeans, so we decided that it was a perfect opportunity to walk down to Prince St. We arrived at about 8:30 and were told the wait would be close to an hour. So I added my name to the mental list kept by host Antonio, and went in search of a way to kill an hour nearby. We ended up drinking some interesting little cocktails at Cub Room, a place I would not recommend for a meal, but a nice enough lounge when you find yourself in that area and in such a predicament (which used to happen to me all the time when I'd eat at Blue Ribbon Sushi).
We ended up waiting well over an hour, for which I was thanked over and over again by the very friendly host. Even though I made sure to be back within 45 minutes, I got the feeling that several tables with our name on them had come and gone by then. I didn't really mind the waiting, though the doorway was very crowded and the noise in the room was near-deafening.
We ordered two bacon cheeseburgers and one 75 ml bottle of Ommegang Hennepin beer (they do not have a beer tap). The menu price of the burger (plain, I suppose) is $16, which I found to be pretty steep, but I figured it would be delicious, so I didn't think twice. When our server asked us about cheese (cheddar or bleu) and bacon, we both said yes. The chalkboard does not list beer prices.
The burgers were, indeed, very good. Juicy, flavorful and substantial but nowhere near giant, they were just big enough to satisfy a hungry person. Aside from the usual lettuce and tomato, they came with a couple of thin slices of red onion and pickle, which I appreciated. The fries are also a generous portion, and served in an attractive cone style. However, we both found that the majority of our "cones" consisted of small stumps and tiny bits of fries rather than the long thin shapes that a person can actually pick up with their fingers and dip into ketchup... we ended up pouring the fries out onto our plates and stabbing them with our forks. I wonder who got the good fries from our batch? Maybe the couple next to us, who also ordered two burgers about five minutes ahead of us?
Anyway, our burgers arrived without the bacon. We didn't bother to complain because we really weren't disappointed enough, I suppose, and we were hungry enough to let it go. Also, the server was really pleasant and busy... so we just shrugged it off.
When the bill came, the bacon was on it, and so we had to mention its omission in order to have that charge removed, which they did quickly. Apparently, the price of a bacon cheeseburger is $19, and without bacon the cheeseburger becomes $17.50. I couldn't believe that we had just eaten $35 worth of cheeseburgers! And the bottle of Hennepin was $18! The total adjusted bill came to $57 and change. I must say, despite the jovial and welcoming atmosphere, the rocking music and the very happy guests around me, that bill jolted me like a swift kick in the butt. I left $70 (like I said, aside from the forgotten bacon, the service was friendly and attentive).
I was kind of blown away by our $70 night of burgers and beer (and no one was stuffed or even buzzed), and, as good as it looked, I am not sure I'll be able suck it up again to go back for their braised short rib with the mac and cheese side dish...
Shorty says he wants us locals to be regulars, but for $70 I'd rather have a Daddy-O Burger and beer.... twice.