One week ago, a discussion was sparked on Chowhound asking members to spill their feelings on L.A. Weekly's new critic, Besha Rodell*. The chat quickly dissolved into inter-office banter about everything but. More and more, we ourselves are really digging the new, baggage-free perspective Rodell offers to our critical scene, eschewing high-falutin' talk to get simple, straight, and honest on the things many diners are saying and thinking but haven't had the stones or position to actually let fly. Case in point: Today's review on Short Order, helmed in-half by Nancy Silverton, who L.A. beatifies for very good reason, but whose grass-fed burgers are simply aite, just not as great as our months-long foaming-at-the-chops had predicted.
Last fall, in spite of being impressed by the beef we noted that the Little Miss Perfect burgers "somehow, disappointingly, don't come together yet to form truly spectacular wholes" and in January, S. Irene Virbila also noted their imperfections, while deeming it "a fine addition to the sprawling complex at Fairfax and 3rd." Jonathan Gold mostly ducked a full critique, instead telling readers what they'd find there http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/11/short_order_jonathan_gold.php">in an early look, while still declaring it "the newest queen of the great Los Angeles hamburger pageant."
Rodell seems to be on a similar page as Short Order's less spellbound diners, putting it in its proper place as a progressive entry at a mall that swarms with families that may have differing needs. In a menu "aimed directly at grown-up children," her favorite bite above all else is the turkey burger, if that tells you anything. But "as juicy... over the top as these burgers are," Besha still thinks "they fall short of burger heaven," and denies them the status of a "great" on the city's burger scene.
Nancy's Backyard Burger, a hit even before Short Order's arrival, "is a seriously sloppy burger" she notes, wondering why this Cali cuisine queen uses guacamole instead of sliced avocado. Otherwise, there's just too much salt, some in the patty, others in toppings like with a lamb burger deliriously arranged with feta to hammer the salt home. "Watery" rafts and weird veggie burgers don't fare much better, then the critic busts our sides when she writes, "I have no idea who wants Apple Jack or Old Grand Dad 114 in their dessert shake, but one answer is: Not me."
Isn't it nice to look forward to Thursdays again?
*(ha, we said "members")