Up in the valley is a place called Stanley’s that I have been hearing about pretty much from the day I started dating my fiancee. Very little about the valley is exciting, but Stanley’s is in a stretch of Sherman Oaks on Ventura that’s pretty cool, so I found myself surprisingly excited to go. Previously, I had heard they have delicious wings, but we were in a rush and I am not a man who rushes wings. Instead, I went with my arch-nemesis.
That’s right. The BBQ Short Rib Sliders. I fully knew these were no real sliders, and nothing makes me sadder (not even injured puppies) to see mini burgers or mini sandwiches passed off as sliders. But these just looked too good to pass up, being topped with onion rings and mozzarella cheese. They also came with a side of fries (or sweet potato fries) and a cabbage salad. I had misread the menu and thought the salad was an option instead of fries, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. First, I must write about the bread.
Stanley’s makes (or reheats) some damn good bread. It’s the kind with the really crispy crust and fluffy-ass innards. It is awesome, but even more awesome when ordered with a side of Stanley’s Caesar Dressing. This dressing is more of a paste and can be spread on the bread (or dipped in) for a nice punch of garlic and joy. I definitely recommend going this direction, for while butter is nice, this spread is much better.
And with that said, let’s get back to the mini sandwiches.
When I saw the cabbage salad on my plate, I was in shock. Fortunately it had no impact upon my real food and the fiancee was happy to lap it up. The mini sandwiches were a thing of beauty and I hoped they would taste as good as they looked. They did. The buns, while intimidatingly large in relation to the rest of the sandwiches, were surprisingly squishy and offered the perfect amount of flavor to each bite. The onion rings had been fried perfectly so that little to none of the grotesque onion texture shone through. Instead, they offered a simple crispiness to the sandwiches. The mozzarella was as you would expect, and finally there was the meat. These were sizable chunks of short rib and were incredibly tender and juicy. The BBQ sauce had a nice sweet and savory taste, with just a hint of tart. Overall, I could hardly complain.
The fries, on the other hand, were a different story and a real disappointment. They had definitely not been fried long enough or were in need of another frying, as they came out pretty limp and soggy. I don’t need my fries to be well-done, but I do expect some sort of crunch when I bite in. Maybe they figured if In-N-Out could serve crappy fries without damaging business, then they could too.
Yet, I couldn’t let these fries ruin my meal. After all, this was all about my mini sandwiches and the Caesar bread. In those, Stanley’s was a huge success.