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Dec 2, 2011 05:04 PM

Short Order, Long Price

Well I went to the much anticipated Short Order, Nancy Silverton's burger restaurant at the Farmer's Market, for lunch. I ordered Nancy's Backyard Burger, which is a burger with bacon, avocado, a spicy mayonnaise, red onion, some bibb lettuce. I believe it is on a brioche bun.

It's good. It's fine. The burger is high quality and with an exceptionally "clean" grass fed taste to it. It is put together with care. I was offered it cooked medium rare or medium well, and I went with MR. It was very juicy, and the overall combinations of flavors were quite nice.

Surprisingly good were the string fries, skinny, salty gnarled amber colored fingers of potato goodness. And hey, a sizeable portion at $3.00 is a good buy.

But back to the burger. It cost me $13.00. Yes. $13.00 for a medium sized, high quality burger. It was good, but not $13.00 good. Not even close. By the time I got out with tax and tip I was $21.00 into a ...burger.

I should state that I was impressed with the service. Bright young people in their twenties who are friendly but not too informal or cheeky. No "hey guys," no attitude, but polite, attentive but not intrusive.

I predict that with The Counter just down the street on Wilshire, and Johnny Rocket's just across the courtyard in the Farmer's Market, and with the price at Short Order, Nancy's new place is not going to have a long lifespan.

All in all, if you've ever had a nice, high quality burger elsewhere, you've already had what they serve at Short Order, and chances are it cost you at least a third less. You could easily create your own for half the cost, and probably make it taste better, using high quality ingredients at home.

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  1. Morton's burger is also ~$13, many FancyBurgers are also $15+, why is the price so alarming?

    I'd rather pay $13for a great hamburger vs $9 for w/e they're serving up at J. Rocket's

    re: counter

    Counter Burger 10.95
    1/3 lb Beef, Provolone, Crispy Onion Strings, Lettuce
    Blend, Sautéed Mushrooms & Tomato, Sun-Dried
    Tomato Vinaigrette

    $13 vs $11...

    15 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      The prices are so alarming because...

      1) Unlike Morton's and many others, the price does not include fries, so adjust accordingly
      2) Unlike Morton's and many others, Short Order (with the exception of the upstairs dining area) is not a full-service, sit-down, indoor's a shack in the corner of a busy parking lot
      3) My one visit, 2 weeks into service, yielded a critically undercooked burger, which is unfortunately in keeping with many other reports online

      I would have no real problem with the high prices if they were really knocking it out of the park (or the parking lot) but they clearly are not. Shake Shake in NY is a huge success with a somewhat similar concept, but their prices are less than half of Short Order's. Yes, Short Order is attempting to offer a higher premium product, but the setting does not merit more than double the price.

      That said, I think Short Order will ultimately be a success, but it's going to be a rocky road. The trajectory could have been much higher and much smoother had they not overshot on price point by so much.

      1. re: wutzizname

        have to say, between your comment that the burger was critically undercooked, and the OPs comment that it was very juicy with an 'exceptionally clean grass-fed taste', that burger sounds like something I'd like to try soon. (on a day I am feeling flush).

        1. re: susancinsf

          To expound (from my review posted yelsewhere)...

          "Two weeks in and I'm sorry to report that my first visit yesterday placed me among all the folks whose experience included a poorly cooked burger. Ordered medium-rare, received very rare (on the edges) and raw (the majority).

          Unfortunately I had ordered the burger to-go, so I wasn't going to head all the way back to complain and return it. Instead all I could do was eat the perimeter and throw the rest away. To be clear, I love medium rare, I never order medium, and if I had to choose I'd prefer a burger to come out slightly under cooked vs. over. But this was not slightly under, it was primarily raw, which made it completely unappealing and inedible.

          That said, my sense was that if the meat had been cooked properly, it would have been a very decent burger...liked the bun, liked the toppings. And I thought the "spuds" where pretty exceptional. I didn't really care for the sour cream dipping sauce all that much. I liked the idea of it, but flavor just wasn't really working for me.

          I live nearby and burgers are like a religion for me, so I will certainly give them several more tries. But all other opening-kinks aside...when you're a burger concept, and a (overly) pricey one at that, the one thing you should be able to do two weeks into service is nail the temperature of your burgers. Or at least come within a few degrees. But raw?"

          1. re: wutzizname

            Kudos for giving them another try or two - but really, a chef with that stature making burgers should be able to get it right. Making a burger - a good one - isn't all that difficult. I can't think of anything easier.

            Was the patty nicely browned at least?

      2. re: ns1

        Morton's is a high end restaurant. Short Order is relying on selling take out for eating in Farmers Market. Itis just irrationally more expensive than anything else at the Market. There are nicer ways to eat a high end burger, and cheaper ways to experience Farmers Market--so what is the sell? Yes they have table service outside (as noted, in the parking lot) but that can't be enough to keep them going. I would liek tos ee them succeed--but I think they will need to bring the take-out prices more in line with the competition.

        1. re: coffeebrownies

          >> Itis just irrationally more expensive than anything else at the Market

          That's not really true. I'd say Moishe's dark meat chicken kebab with a side of tabbouleh and baba ghanoush for $14 is right up there with unreasonably high prices. That's an $8 plate. Yet I find myself craving Moishe's at least once a month. Every time I say "this is the last time" and then I taste it.

          By the way, if you go for lunch, tell the grumpy counter ladies that you work for CBS. There's a discount. I answered honestly and sadly lost the discount forever :)

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            It is worth its own chain. Why are the ladies at Moishe's so grumpy?

            1. re: coffeebrownies

              those ladies are totally not nice! my co-worker REFUSES to ever eat there because one lady was so rude to him he got into a fight with her. so funny. he loves the food too.

          2. re: coffeebrownies

            More expensive dishes at the Farmer's Market include those at Mr Marcel, one of my FM favorites. They actually have a more expensive version of the Silverton burger at $14.95 although it includes MM's skinny frites which I like. Quoting their menu:



            french burger $14.99

            nancy silverton’s famous hamburger blend from Farmers Market Huntington Meat, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomatoes served with french fries and condiments

            Your choice of cheese : roquefort, brie, gruyère de comté or st loup goat cheese


            The most expensive item that serves one on Mr Marcel's menu is Filet Mignon with the frites at $25.99.

            1. re: SilverlakeGirl

              i think the fish place is pretty expensive too. a coworker was totally bummed when his fish and chips plus lemonade came out to $17. the brazillian place can totally be pricey depending on how much meat you load up on your plate. i've had friends be shocked at their total at the register.

              1. re: Clyde

                Magee's isn't exactly offering free food, either, though I will pay the freight if I am truly hungry for a corned-beef sandwich. Honestly, the only real food bargains I've gotten at the FM were the meat-and-rice bowls at the Korean place at the west end.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Hand rolls at the sushi stall. Cinnamon rolls at Bob's. Slab o' grease at Dino's. Eggs at Phils.

                  1. re: coffeebrownies

                    The cinnamon buns at Bob's are truly a bargain at $1.25 for a massive one.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      Yes, Bob's is awesome and probably the most quality stall in the farmers market, in my opinion. to be honest i think most of the vendors have gone down hill in recent years. especially the gumbo pot! it's just terrible now. i'll get my gluten free pastas there and my donuts and maybe loteria once in a while, but my desire to dine there is not what it used to be. i was actually there today and opted to get my lunch from whole foods instead. there was a massive crowd outside short order. i wonder when the hype will fade.

          3. re: ns1

            Wutiztname and others on the thread have provided good explanations.

            I will add that there is some price point which crosses the "I'm splurging a bit," to, "I'm spending too much." If the fries were thrown in for the $13.00 I could have lived with it. If the burger was a "wow!" experience, I could have lived with it. But I didn't even get anything to drink and my bill was $16.00 before tax and tip.

            That's steep when it's just a burger and fries. No matter how high quality the ingredients are (and I will also agree with a responder that my medium rare was a bit more rare than I preferred, but fine), it's just a burger and fries. The burger was of medium size.

            Also, keep in mind that we live in the Golden Era of the Burger. There are a number of restaurants nearby the Farmer's Market which are putting out high end burgers at least as good as Short Order, with more manageable price. Ultimately, the only thing about Short Order that is unforgettable IS the price.

          4. I am still waiting before I check it out but ...

            I rarely hear people complain about Golden States prices just up the street on Fairfax. Golden State is $11.00 for the burger, $3.00 for sides. Short Order are from $11.00 to $13.00 with $4.00 sides.

            For myself, given the reviews, I think I will want to maximize my experience and eat on site [not to-go] and eat upstairs partaking of the bar offerings, extended menu, enhanced service and improved ambiance which I think will even it out.

            4 Replies
            1. re: SilverlakeGirl

              GS includes fries (or choice of another side) for the $11.00.

              1. re: wutzizname

                Golden State used to charge $8 or $9 for the same burger. I miss those halcyon days.

                Mr Taster

              2. re: SilverlakeGirl

                You might want to check those prices again.

                GS burger includes one side of choice for $11.

                1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                  The sides at Golden State are great, too. Good lemony cucumber salad, bright jalepeno slaw, excellent sweet potato fries, or some good regular fries.

                2. It would appear that Silverton, between selling overpriced burgers and jacking prices at Mozza (as well as opening clones around the globe), is trying to recoup her Madoff fiasco quickly! And it seems to be working, judging by the crowds at her restaurants.

                  If people want to bail her out of her foolish investment decisions, then be my guest :)

                  PS. I really like Mozza's food, but the prices, which weren't low when it opened, seemed to have increased at an alarming rate...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: manku

                    Well, why not price at what the market can bear? Mozza is a destination restaurant, and they don't want for patrons. It will be interesting to see if the business model works for Short Order. Farmers Market relies on locals and tourists. For destination dining, the parking, the throngs, the touristy-ness of it would seem to be offputting. So, the questions are, will people who like eating at Farmers Market (and I am one) put up with destination dining prices, and will tourists be in-the-know enough to choose a Short Order burger instead of a Charley's Burger or a Phil's Burger?

                    1. re: coffeebrownies

                      Can any of the naysayers spell or define "schadenfreude."?

                      1. re: maudies5

                        Well, I am not in the restaurant business, and I wish Nancy Silverton no harm. In fact, my desire is that Short Order is a raving success at Farmers Market--where I have eaten at least one meal weekly for 19 years. But, personally, I would like her food to be affordable, so I can put it into my rotation--$50 dinner for 2 (food only) at Farmers Market is not my style. The worst thing that could happen is that she fails and her restaurant is replaced with another Johnny Rockets..or other chain that will counter the unique charm of Farmers Market. So, not at all schadenfreude, rather the opposite.

                        1. re: coffeebrownies

                          So well put. I too am a regular a FM, having lived just a stone's throw away at Park La Brea apartments for 15 years. I want Short Order to thrive.

                        2. re: maudies5

                          I don't wish Short Order anything but ragingly good business. But I just don't see it happening given the local high end burger restaurant market.

                    2. based on the price alone and the reviews i've read elsewhere i will not be rushing to this place. i am not a meat eater but i'll cheat with a burger once in a while. so i save my cheats for worthy places and have been very intrigued to try this place since i go to the FM regularly and dine in the area often for lunch -- but when i think about it rationally-- for what it would cost for lunch there - looks like about $16 not sure if that even includes tax or tip- i can with tax & tip, eat a huge korean meal at Genwa, various sushi lunch specials. when sushi costs the same or in this case maybe even less as a burger, that just doesn't sound right to me.

                      1. I just thank my lucky stars that I exist in an era where a cheeseburger is even possible: ;-)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                          Words of wisdom, Wayne. What's the old saying, "I cried for not having a properly priced high end burger, until I met a man with no burger at all."