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Don't be shy. No hype about short order. Start posting about the food

In short: Pretty good all-around, definitely worth a try.

In full:
The restaurant had a friends and family night Thursday and grand opened Friday. Overwhelming reports from those nights praised the good food, but also expressed frustration at extremely long waits for food. I will admit I was a little apprehensive about going so soon, but I’m glad I did.

The restaurant has two floors, with an abbreviated menu on the ground level. When we first arrived, we were told the upstairs was closed to customers because it was packed full. Bummer. We were willing to wait, so we asked the host to check how long the wait would be. When he came back, he said that there were two seats available at the bar (there were actually four empty spots). Score!

Dining at the bar was the perfect opportunity to see Julian Cox (who has to be the busiest man in LA mixology this year) and his team in action. Cox is in charge of the cocktails; a limited list of craft beers and wines are also available.

Fistful of Dollars craft method brandy, Combier, Amaro Montanegro, fresh lemon, cinnamon bark syrup, angostura, spiced castor sugar
Palma Fizz vodka, szechuan pepper corn ginger syrup, fresh lime juice, Bruce Cost’s unfiltered ginger ale, rose water

I really enjoyed the Palma Fizz, lightly carbonated with ginger and lime notes up front. Thankfully, the cocktail contained just the flavor and not the heat (or numbing sensation) of the szechuan peppercorns. The Fistful of Dollars had a strong brandy flavor, complemented by the lemon rind and some cinnamon spice.

The menu features 7-9 burger options (beef, turkey, pork, lamb and tuna are the proteins offered), and a few other sandwiches and salads. Frozen custard is made in-house with Northern California’s Straus Creamery dairy (same dairy as San Francisco’s Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe); a variety of custard shakes are offered as well. We opted to try three burgers, a custard shake, and fully-loaded spuds (french fries weren’t available).

Short Order Burger grass-fed beef, morbier, griddled mushrooms, bibb, mustardy mayo

The first thing I noticed here was the beef. A thick patty was cooked medium-rare, pink/red throughout. Looked like the cross-section of a perfectly grilled steak. Clearly the restaurant wanted to showcase this meat and it didn’t disappoint – beefy and juicy, delicious. Some mushrooms added an extra earthy flavor, while the lettuce was crisp and cool. The bun was soft, warm and yielding to each bite. A well-constructed and tasty burger.

Lamb Burger Sonoma lamb, feta, lamb’s lettuce, salsa verde

This lamb burger wasn’t nearly as pink as the beef; the temperature was medium-ish, almost medium-well (not sure if this was intentional). The lamb flavor was there, slightly gamey, complemented by a rich feta cheese. Not quite as exciting as the Short Order Burger, but I gobbled this down just as easily.

Frisée Lardon Raft grass-fed beef, frisée, artisan slab bacon pieces, fried egg, lemon vinaigrette

The raft was a variation on the burger where an uncut bun served as a “raft” on the bottom, while the rest of the ingredients were piled on top, open-faced. Unfortunately, the egg yolk broke, and the kitchen opted to present it upside-down (sigh). As with the Short Order burger, the perfectly cooked slab of grass-fed beef was tasty on its own. A fried egg and smoky chunks of bacon added a ton more flavor and richness, while the frisee, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette, helped to cut through some of the richness. I didn’t see the appeal of the raft over a typical burger (makes it more of a fork-and-knife sandwich), but the flavors were all there.

Coffee Malt Custard Shake

As expected, the shake was rich and had a deep coffee, malty flavor. I heard that some spiked shakes will be offered in the future, so I’d be interested to see what Cox puts together here.

Short Order Spuds with Dipping Sauce and Truffle Salt

The dipping sauce and truffle salt were both optional add-ons at $2 apiece, but we decided to go all out on these spuds. These potato wedge-like creations were baked, lightly smashed then fried, yielding a very crispy exterior and fluffy interior. Fried potatoes are almost always better with truffle salt, but these would have been delicious on their own. The dipping sauce, a sour cream/chive/bacon mix, clearly resembled the flavors of a baked potato.

While waiting for dessert, I asked the bar to create a cocktail to pair with our pie.

Bee’s Kiss 12-yr Jamaican rum, cream, honey, cinnamon

Pear Pie vanilla custard

A selection of pies will be available depending on the season (pear and cranberry were available this night). The pie was good, though I wish it was warm (maybe I’m just being picky) to capitalize on the hot-cold combination with the custard. The vanilla custard was quite delicious on its own, but did go very well with the pie. The cocktail was a strong pairing; its own creamy sweetness was a welcome addition to the dessert (I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway through).

Short Order is a place to splurge (calorie-wise) on some hearty burgers, crisp potatoes and thick custard shakes. Maybe even some pie a la mode. I think a lot of places can make a good burger or good fries, but it doesn’t always come together. Short Order has strengths in both of these, and even has good pie, custard and Julian Cox cocktails to boot. Hard to go wrong with that – I expect the restaurant to be popular for the foreseeable future.

Service was good (although I really wish that egg was right-side-up) and our food came out quickly. I imagine the restaurant is still working out some kinks in its system, but there appeared to be a marked improvement already.

Link to write-up w/ more pictures: http://darindines.com/2011/11/20/shor...

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Short Order
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Nov 21, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

sooo did anyone go to baja night 3.0?

I went and I thought it was a great event. Mexicali and RIcky's were expectantly good, with a couple of "special" items for that night only. Ricky's served his lobster taco, while Mexicali had nachos and a stuffed pepper. Newcomer Churro Borough brought a rather well-executed churro ice cream sandwich too.

Sep 12, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Your Favorite Tacos Downtown

I second Tacos, Tumbras a Tomas (lunch) and Mexicali (dinner).

Jun 29, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Best place to gorge on raw oysters in LA?

Chaya Downtown has some good ones for $1 each during happy hour.

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Chaya Downtown
525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Jun 14, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Taste of the Nation LA

It was my first time going this year and I was impressed...I'll be coming back next year for sure. Similar to others, some of my favs were the fried chicken from Lexington Social House, anticucho from Picca, and lamb from Culina. Loved the beer garden and cocktails too!

Recap with pictures of (almost) everything: http://darindines.com/2011/06/14/tast...

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Culina
300 S Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Lexington Social House
1718 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Jun 14, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Recap of last night's LudoBites

It came out to be about $77pp inclusive of tax, ordering 3 of everything for 6 people. With a decent amount of alcohol mixed in there as well, I thought this was pretty well-priced.

Jun 02, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Coly's Stromboli -- Downtown LA?

Not a stromboli expert at all but I found it to be not bad. Takes a little bit of time to get your food, but it's because they make them to order. Reasonably priced too, I'd recommend giving it a shot.

Jun 02, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Recap of last night's LudoBites

A friend of mine scored a reservation to last night's dinner, and I was lucky enough to be able to join that party. The food was largely successful, though the kitchen was a bit backed up at times.

“Salsa-Rita” - We started with Ludo’s own custom-made cocktail. True to the theme, this tasted just like a salsa but in cocktail form. A little bit of heat reminded me a bit of a Bloody Mary; many of us had tortilla chips come to mind when drinking this. A tortilla chip straw would’ve been fun, though likely not practical.

Brocamole & Chips - This dish was interesting, really just like an avocado guacamole but with broccoli. I’d have to say it was a little bit weird to start, but quickly grew on me.

Ceviche, Cucumber Water, Purslane - There was a pickled flavor to this ceviche, maybe from some type of vinegar? Celery and red onion provided a little freshness, while I thought the fish was “cooked” well.

Chilled Red Tomato Soup, Carrot, Smoked Fish - This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It was balanced really well between the sweet tomatoes, crunchy carrots and tender, smoky fish. At first I thought there was bacon in this, but it was really just the fish, which had a really prominent smoky flavor. Best play on a gazpacho I’ve ever had.

Monterey Squid, Chorizo, Banana, Honey Clementine - The squid was not as prominent in this dish; rather I found the clementines and pine nuts to be the strongest flavors. Still, the squid was nice and tender, and I thought the mild sweetness from the banana and honey was a welcome addition.

Crispy Octopus, Smokey Chipotle, Piquillo Pepper Polenta - I found the octopus to be pretty tender, though I was missing whatever the crispy texture was. The gentle heat was balanced well by the creaminess and subtle sweetness of the piquillo polenta.

Brandade Tacos, Dandelion, Creamy Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Delicious. Here Ludo integrated a French brandade with a taco. The filling was a creamy salt cod mixture with potato, which I found to be very satisfying in taco form. The crispy taco shell was a key component too, as well as the peppery arugula.

Foie Gras Quesadilla, Crispy Cabbage, Juniper Berry Oil - Another hit, this was one of the more anticipated menu items for me. Ludo seems to have a particular mastery over both foie gras and chicken, so I’m always excited for any dishes that feature these ingredients. I thought this was executed rather well, resulting in a tasty quesadilla with a rich, buttery foie gras filling. I also liked the cabbage, which added a little more texture and was a welcome accompaniment to the rich foie gras.

Roasted-Poached Beef in Lard, Squid Ink Risotto, Lemon Confit, Dried Mole - Diners raved about this dish while we waited in the dining room, and I could see why. The meat was really tender (pretty sure it was a tenderloin), with the bulk of the flavor coming from a crispy dried mole, accented by the citrus notes of a lemon confit. Cooked perfectly.

Guacamole Sorbet, Catalan Cream, Fruit Salsa, Tequila - I’ve had Ludo’s guacamole sorbet before (LudoBites 5.0) and to be honest, still not a fan. I just can’t get over avocado in ice cream form, but the fruits were good, especially with a hint of tequila flavor. Very subtle, but I could taste it.

Ancho Chili Pepper Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Leche, Red Beets & Rhubarb - The brownie had an extra dimension here, with the mild heat from the chili pepper mixing things up. The whipped cream and caramel both worked well with the brownie, with just a little more sweetness coming from the beet/rhubarb mixture.

As the LudoBites fan base continues to grow, it’s clearly getting harder and harder to be able to experience these meals; as such, I feel exceedingly lucky to have been able to enjoy it. Ludo continues to work with familiar ingredients in new ways, continually experimenting and testing flavor profiles. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but most of the time it does. Tonight I especially enjoyed the tomato soup, brandade taco (genius!) and foie gras quesadilla. It was just a quick glimpse into another LudoBites, but I already look forward to LudoBites 7.0 coming in August.

Full write-up with pictures: http://darindines.com/2011/06/02/ludo...

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LudoBites
Roving wildly, Los Angeles, CA

Jun 02, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Laguna Beach sushi?

I'd support Bluefin as well, but I'm not sure you're going to find anything quite like Sushi Zo in that area.

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Sushi Zo
9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Bluefin Restaurant
7952 E. Pacific Coastal Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92657

Jun 02, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Bouchon - Memorial Day

Sounds like they'll be doing another one in the summer!

May 31, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Bouchon - Memorial Day

Dropped by this evening as well. Service was a bit lacking on this trip, but the fried chicken was very good.

Fried Chicken - The fried chicken arrived just as it does at Ad Hoc, in a stainless steel serving platter covered with fried herbs. A beautiful sight. The dark golden crust is the same as I remembered, light yet very crispy. The meat was flavorful, though I remember it being a little more moist. Not that it was dry at all, but previous experiences have yielded a surprisingly juicy bird. Still, excellent fried chicken – some of the best I’ve had in the city.

Macaroni & Cheese - The macaroni pasta was still slightly al dente, which I enjoyed, while the cheese sauce was good. I thought this singular side was kind of small to share family style for six people, though.

Braised Collard Greens - As expected, the collard greens were cooked to the point that there was no resistance. I think there was some bacon or ham in here too, adding some saltiness and subtle pork flavor. Again, also rather small to share with six people.

N.Y. Cheddar Biscuits & Gravy - The biscuit was a little more dense than I would’ve liked, but the flavor was there. Especially with the rich and meaty gravy, these were a hit.

Full write-up w/ pictures: http://darindines.com/2011/05/31/frie...

May 31, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Write-up review of Locanda [San Francisco]

My favorite of the pastas was the radiatore with lamb ragu, but there's some personal preference there (I tend to really like the meaty ragus). I'd definitely give at least one entree a try - the guinea hen was amazing!

May 25, 2011
DarinDines in San Francisco Bay Area

Write-up review of Locanda [San Francisco]

It wasn't pressed flat. Yeah the restaurant was packed by like 6, and it was a Monday.

May 25, 2011
DarinDines in San Francisco Bay Area

Taste of the Nation LA

I'll be going - looks like a fun event! Curious to see what Voltaggio will prepare, among others.

May 25, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Patina or Melisse?

I'd vote Melisse, though it's been a while since I've been to Patina.

May 24, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Write-up review of Locanda [San Francisco]

With pictures: http://darindines.com/2011/05/24/loca...

Dropped by Locanda yesterday for a quick meal. I’m a fan of both Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina restaurants, so this was a must-try on my list. Both of the Stoll’s restaurants are Italian; the focus here is on the cuisine of Rome. Pastas and charcoal grilled items make up the bulk of the menu, with a number of intriguing offal options.

Finding the restaurant can be a little tricky; the exterior signage is a plain black sign that says “cocktails.” However, there are letters in the bottom of the window that spell out “Locanda.”

Pizza Bianca olive oil, sea salt - We were first served the house bread (kind of similar to a foccacia), topped with olive oil and sea salt. The bread had a nice chew, with just enough oil and salt to keep things interesting.

Jewish Style Artichoke - Now this was fun. Apparently this is a classic dish from the Jewish area of Rome – an artichoke deep fried and topped with mint. The interior was meaty and the exterior crispy, quite tasty. I liked the mint, which added just a little bit of brightness to the dish; a lemon wedge added some welcome acidity.

Bucatini all’ Amatriciana guanciale, tomato, peperoncini, pecorino - I thought this was a very good version of the classic. Expectantly so, the pasta was perfectly cooked, leaving just a bit of chew to the pasta. The guanciale (cured pork cheek) imparted a little richness and hint of pork flavor, while there was just a little bit of spiciness that crept up on the palate. It was borderline too spicy for my mother, but I found it just right.

Radiatore “Pecora e Pecorino” lamb ragu, pecorino, mint - Excellent dish. I really liked the radiator-shaped pasta as it clung to the ragu so well. The pasta almost had a spongy texture because it had so much sauce, and really made for some good bites. The ragu was rich and meaty, and I thought the cheese added some nice flavor too.

Rigatoni alla Carbonara guanciale, egg, pecorino, black pepper - I liked the rigatoni’s chew and subtle flavors of the egg and pecorino, but I found this pasta to be a little bit less exciting than the previous two. Still, a good rendition of the carbonara.

Guinea Hen Leg al spiedo - A guinea hen leg was deboned, then wrapped in spices, lardo and proscuitto. Sounds good? It was delicious. Really tender and moist with exceptional flavor. The skin was crisped up really well too, and the meaty flavors were balanced well with some bitter greens and lentils. Probably my favorite dish of the night.

Warm Chocolate Cake maple syrup, walnuts - The cake was warm and really soft, with an almost pudding-like interior. I liked the extra depth of flavor from the maple syrup, as well as the contrast of the whipped cream.

Locanda met my expectations (which were high, given the pedigree and buzz). I found the meal somewhat similar in style to one I recently had at Cotogna, but I think I’d give a slight edge to Locanda (though, I tried a limited number of items at both). I thought the pastas were very good, and the only entree we tried was a memorable one. I look forward to trying more of the menu items sometime soon.

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Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Pizzeria Delfina
2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Cotogna
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Locanda
557 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

May 24, 2011
DarinDines in San Francisco Bay Area

HELP! Best WEEKDAY DOWNTOWN LUNCH SPECIALS?!

Check out this LA Times article about downtown lunch spots: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

I find the taco place in Grand Central Market to be very good...and cheap.

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Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Apr 29, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

PICCA - MO CHICA coming to the Westside

Yep - above the current Sotto. Should open in May I think.

Apr 27, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

é...it really is THE best!!!

Right - it's $250 regardless of alcohol, but they will make you a non-alcoholic pairing if desired.

Apr 14, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

é vs. Bazaar's Saam

I thought food at e tasted better, and a big difference was the intimacy of the meal. Saam is a 34 person dining room where the food is brought out from the kitchen. e is a 8 person counter where you see the food being prepared, which invites a lot of dialogue about the food.

If you're a big molecular/Andres fan, you might as well go to both. If you have to pick one, I'd definitely go with e.

Apr 03, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

é...it really is THE best!!!

They're two totally different concepts. e is a lot more experimental with a lot of "molecular gastronomy" technique, while Jaleo is much more familiar Spanish tapas. Just depends what you're looking for really.

Mar 28, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

é...it really is THE best!!!

The 'no camera' policy technically still applies, but it's lenient as long as you're quick and ubobtrusive...at least in this case.

Mar 28, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

é...it really is THE best!!!

I'd have to agree with you - I was just there Friday and it was a really unique experience. Surpassed expectations for sure. And the paella pit right outside of e is just as impressive...I heard that alone cost $1M to build.

Write-up with pics: http://darindines.com/2011/03/28/e-by...

Mar 28, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

Downtown - Public School 612

I've been a couple of times. I think it's worthwhile to check out...decent beer list but not extraordinary. Food is good and reasonably priced, but overly salted.

Mar 28, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Wine question for E by Jose Andres

Just went this past Friday. They're more than happy to make a non-alcoholic pairing for you, but the price is the same. Still, I think it's worthwhile to go.

Mar 28, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

Gold Standard 2011: What say you?

I did GA and thought it was a really good deal for the price - looks like the VIP was also worth it - that extra hour looked crucial for some of those busy tables (Mozza).

I'm glad I passed on slaw dogs too, as it looks like that was a disapointing one.

Write-up with pictures: http://darindines.com/2011/03/06/gold...

Mar 07, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Dinner near Staples before Basketball

You could try LA Market. Fleming's and Katsuya are some of the LA Live options as well..

If you're willing to walk a bit further, I'd look into SugarFish or Mas Malo.

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Mas Malo
515 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Mar 04, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

Report: Las Vegas with Kids and In-laws (including a meal at é by José Andrés)

The confirmation form explicitly states: We respectfully request that guests refrain from the use of video or still cameras as well as mobile phones during dinner service at é.

Time will tell how strict they are on it.

Feb 28, 2011
DarinDines in Las Vegas

23 course tasting menu at Spago

The food was 205 before tax/tip. We spoke to them beforehand about trying to get an extended tasting, and I don't think there was any problem with that. They have a tasting for 10 courses at $145, so I thought this was definitely more bang for the buck.

Haha yeah most were relatively smaller but some were quite rich. It's quite a bit of food, but not really ridiculously so. I'd recommend giving it a shot.

Feb 28, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area

23 course tasting menu at Spago

I thought they were pretty good. The staff explained the background behind each pairing, something I think should always happen but doesn't. Food was 205, wine 115 per.

Feb 28, 2011
DarinDines in Los Angeles Area