The Skinny: The Counter is a build-your-own Burger chain that has locations all over America. You can either individualize your own burger using “Market Selection” produce or simply pick something from the menu. They also have beer on tap and burger bowls, which are pretty much salads with condiments.
The High: Building your own burger is always fun, so that’s a plus. The place I went to is in Torrance and they have an outdoor seating area, which is good for nice warm California days. They also have Arrogant Bastard on tap and some tasty french fries and fried pickles.
The Low: My first visit to the Counter I picked the 1lb burger of beef topped with horseradish cheddar, jalepenos, grilled onions, mixed greens, garlic aioli, and a runny egg. You would think all that stuff would be a burst of flavor, but it wasn’t. For me, the biggest problem was that the cooks didn’t season the meat, and if they did, they didn’t season it enough. The beef was beefy, but how could it not be? It’s a pound of meat! Even still, all the extra toppings didn’t really add depth to the overall burger, they seemed to be muted. Maybe conceptually, the Counter creators thought subtle notes of flavor is best, but to me it was just bland. On top of that, the cold hamburger bun was completely demolished by the meat juices and my burger ended up being a knife and fork steak meal. Maybe it could have been the choices I made, like the patty size being too big and the toppings I picked just didn’t work well together.
So I went a second time and I had the same problems. Even though I got the 1/3lb beef patty with a chili theme, the meat was still under season and the cold wheat bun I picked wasn’t able to hold itself together. And to add insult to injury, the Parmesan fries I got that time were cold and way too salty.
Would you come back again? Only if I’m with a group of people and I get out voted on where we want to go eat. Then I’d ask the waiter to have the cooks toast the bun a little with some fat and to salt and pepper the meat well.
More Info: www.thecounterburger.com