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Burgers

Short Order: The Late Amy Pressman's Burger Obsession Stays Alive

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Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM
click to enlarge Jonagold apples - F. FRIESEMA
  • F. Friesema
  • Jonagold apples

If you've been around the back of the Farmers Market lately, you've probably noticed an odd glass appendage, and the funk of charred meat, and a waxing throng whose average age seems at least 20 years younger than the one next door at Du-Par's, a patio you'd swear didn't exist last week, and a flight of stairs, steep stairs, up which people bound, and down which they stagger. You have run across Short Order, the newest queen of the great Los Angeles hamburger pageant, a queerly shaped temple of grass-fed beef, nugget-shaped "Short Order spuds," Julian Cox-designed cocktails and chunky red wine.

Short Order was the dream restaurant of Amy Pressman, a burger-obsessed chef who once ran enormously successful bakeries in Pasadena, and who began her career working for Nancy Silverton in the pastry kitchen at Spago in the early 1980s. Silverton, who was pretty burger-obsessed herself -- Huntington Meats has been selling a custom Nancy Silverton blend for years -- encouraged her friend, helped her develop recipes for the restaurant and for the upcoming bakery, and stepped up in a big way when Pressman passed away this fall. Pressman was a huge presence in the Los Angeles food scene, and Short Order feels very much like her place.

So there are big, drippy hamburgers, including an oversized In-N-Out-style creature named for Suzanne Tracht's daughter Ida; an herbed turkey burger named for Pressman; and a bacon-avocado-laced Nancy's Backyard Burger, which explodes like a meat grenade the instant it is breached by human teeth. A "raft" is a new creation, basically a buttery bun topped by a burger patty, topped with a frisée salad laced with chunks of small-producer bacon, and in turn topped with a runny fried egg, a burger that seems simultaneously girly and gnarly, which I suppose is the point. If you're in the mood for a pork burger or a corn dog battered with organic Anson Mills cornmeal, you can get those here, too.

If you're in need of Julian Cox-designed cocktails or an intricate lamb burger, you should probably hold out for the upper dining room, which resembles the bridge of a ship; if you're in a hurry, the downstairs eating areas tend to turn over more quickly.

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