The Original Farmers Market has been an iconic L.A. destination since 1934, but it took the combined efforts of restaurateur Bill Chait, the late Amy Pressman, her longtime friend Nancy Silverton, and executive chef Christian Page to reinvigorate the structure with Short Order. The double-decker, all-American concept fit seamlessly into historic surroundings.
Short Order is well positioned in the shadow of the iconic Original Farmers Market clock tower. The open design includes a railing-protected patio with umbrella-lined wood tables, fireplace, stacks of almond wood, and views into the active kitchen. Pass a wall-mounted neon cow and old school manual lawnmower to get upstairs, where you’ll find a covered deck with a warming fire pit, plus a full bar that’s protected from the elements and displays more Americana.
Before the restaurant opened in 2011, the key players preached burgers, and while Short Order hasn’t exactly reinvented the genre, their burgers have become really enjoyable, and diversified offerings have made it a better, more interesting restaurant.
A big part of Short Order’s local, sustainable approach took an upturn in early 2013 with the arrival of whole animals, which Page and crew break down in-house. For example, sides of of beef from Strauss Brands near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, now factors into burgers, steaks, Reubens and more. They grind burgers daily and grill patties over California almond wood, serving them in Short Cake‘s brioche/challah buns. Sides have also become more interesting, and the cocktail program, under the watchful eye of bar manager Julian Cox, remains strong.
Chef Christian Page has helmed Short Order from the get-go and added fun specials like animal roasts.
Page has received additional support since the opening, including a new sous chef.
Short Order makes most things in-house, including pickles, which aren’t just decorative.
The Pickle Plate typically features okra, cucumbers and watermelon rinds, plus sharp Southern-style pimento cheese and wood grilled bread.
Burgers are typically a 70:30 ratio of meat:fat. Page rotates cuts of beef, grinds daily and grills the results over almond wood, preferably to rare, so the quality can’t hide. Short Order has some relatively ornate burgers, but I prefer the simple Commando Burger ($8) with a couple additions: aged cheddar, house made pickles, and spicy mayo.
I enjoy Short Order’s skin-on Old School Fries, though some people are partial to the crisp-crusted, hand-torn Spuds ($4). Either way, you’ve got a great burger accompaniment.
There have been some casualties, including the delectable Frisee Lardon Raft, a grass-fed beef patty topped with frisee, North Country Smokehouse applewood bacon lardons, fried egg, shallots, and lemon vinaigrette for bright acidity, served on Short Order made brioche.
Spicy Crispy Chicken Wings ($7) were originally a starter and migrated to happy hour.
Thanks to restaurants like Langer’s, L.A. is a Reuben ($12) town, and Short Order has acquitted themselves well with savory house-made corned brisket, tangy sauerkraut, Comte cheese and Russian dressing on rye bread.
Since Short Order gets in sides of beef, they’ve been able to offer steak dinners ($22) on Friday. Ribeye wasn’t listed, but Page saved us the prized cut, which he aged for 21 days and Cryovac’d before grilling and serving with smoky Romesco.
It wasn’t ribeye, but I still enjoyed the skirt steak dinner with Romesco and crisp-coated onion rings, which Chef Page served on a decorative wood platter.
For one of Page’s special Tuesday night blowouts, he roasted a whole lamb (out front) out front, wafting wood smoke over passersby. He saved us the neck, and served the bony section with tangy kumquat yogurt and Italian-style salsa verde.
Special sides for the lamb roast included roasted heirloom carrots with Greek yogurt, pistachio, and thyme; and tiny Indian Eggplant with creamy tahini sauce.
Page also has a deft touch with grains, as evidenced by Bulgur Wheat Salad tossed with spring onions, asparagus, strawberries, and feta; and Toasted Couscous with fava beans, English peas, mint, olive oil, and lemon.
Tuesdays in warmer months are the best time to visit Short Order thanks to specials like Baby Zucchini & Blossoms stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta, and graced with Early Girl tomato sauce, thyme and olive oil.
When available, order Grilled Corn on the Cob slathered with tomatillo salsa and queso fresco.
Bean Salad is in the regular rotation, featuring green and yellow wax beans, butter beans and garbanzo beans tossed with red onions, oregano, parsley, and tangy lemon vinaigrette.
Smoked Barley Wine Cake was a memorable dessert that Hourie Sahakian made for Stone Brewing night, made with the brewery’s Old Guardian, an 11.4% oak-smoked barley wine, and topped with strawberry white peppercorn ice cream and fresh strawberries.
On the dessert menu, Strawberry Shortcake features strawberry preserves cascading over creamery Straus vanilla ice cream, on smoky disc of cake grilled over almond wood.