Sunday, July 25, 2010

Counter Intelligence: Meat vs. Toppings

Burger and hot dog lovers generally divide into two camps: the meat lovers and the topping lovers. Meat lovers are purists who judge their burger or dog on the standard of the meat. Is the burger juicy, rare and made from high quality chuck? Is the dog well spiced and does it snap when you bite into it? You'll find these folks at Cassell's, Skooby's and Carney's. The topping lovers, while they appreciate good meat, are most interested in innovative and high quality toppings. They want garden fresh veggies, a wide choice of cheeses, house made sauces and all kinds of add-ons. They hang out at 25 Degrees and Slaw Dog. I tend to be a meat lover, but I'm not averse to occasionally jumping into the toppings fray. The Counter is definitely a place for the toppings lovers.

Since its founding a mere seven years ago in Santa Monica, The Counter has enjoyed massive, bacteria-scale growth such that it now boasts 25 locations across 9 states and three countries. I had never been to any of The Counter's locations when I recently stopped by the Studio City branch on Ventura Boulevard.

The Counter's concept is the customized burger. You choose the burger meat (beef, veggie, chicken or turkey), cheese, toppings, sauce and bun. There is a vast array of toppings to choose from though none of them are what I would describe as out of the ordinary such as, say, the artisanal cheeses offered by 25 Degrees.

I went with a beef burger with bacon, blue cheese, roasted peppers, pickles, grilled onions and Caesar dressing. It was good and the whole thing came together well. The burger itself is good but not the kind of meat lover's delight that the meat camp would flock too. As I said, this is a toppings place, and they do the toppings well.

The Counter's fried sides were also very good. The thin french fries and sweet potato fries were both good, though I preferred them plain to the aioli that was served with them. Deep fried pickle slices were also good, though again, I could have done without the sauce, a sweet, gloppy concoction.

I would definitely go back to The Counter for their solid, have-it-your-way style burgers. Who knows, maybe next time I'm in Dundrum, Ireland, I'll stop by.

The Counter
Various Locations

1 comment:

H. C. said...

The Counter is a fun spot for a build-your-own-burger experience, and they have a decent beer/wine selection to boot. I might lunch here more often if it was a bit cheaper and if it doesn't take me 20 minutes to decide what I want to eat!