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The Counter in Santa Monica is Absolutely GROSS

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Went to the Counter in Santa Monica and it was about the nastiest meal I have had in a long time. The buns are not substantial enough for the burgers - so it gets all soggy by the time they came to the table. The toppings had disproportionate levels of flavor: either too little (I had grilled onions, cheese and bacon) or overpowering flavor (my SO had the strongest blue cheese on earth (while I am a blue cheese fan – it just shouldn't be overpowering on meat – it should compliment). The burgers come in 1/3, 1/2 and 1 lb sizes. I remember the days when a quarter pounder was considered a big burger. Not anymore – but that is just a memory of the past when we didn't have to eat a pound of meat to feel satisfied. More importantly, the meat tasted as if it was grilled in a pan (like a home burger) and had absolutely no seasoning mixed in. Totally bland and w/o flavor.

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  1. I've never been to The Counter but last week I was down in the "LA area" as we say up here in Ridgecrest and got to have my favorite hamburger. My steak burger at The Apple Pan was pure perfection-great tasting meat, lettuce, fantastic relish. (I did not add cheese). I ate this hamburger actually thinking of other hamburgers that are available and tried to judge it. This is my perfect hamburger-the meat is so good. Why? I think because for some reason it does not have that fast-food taste-at all! All other hamburgers (even In/Out)have that fast-food taste (imho). I can't describe the fast-food taste (sorry) but you probably know what I mean.
    So, try The Apple Pan for a great hamburger. (I've been eating there since 1965!)
    I am so enthusiastic because I live in culinary wasteland so I get excited when I get the chance to eat great food! You are all so lucky to have so many opportunities!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shadow

      I grew up a few blocks from the Apple Pan - so I totally agree. It's great. I also like in and out and while it does have the fast food flavor - it's pretty great. I also had a great burger on the venice boardwalk the other day at a cafe near rose. It's right next to the Venice Bistro - on the corner. It was outstanding (well, I did have to add salt).

    2. Agreed.
      I've never had a larger portion of tasteless food in my life.
      I kept thinking somewhere out of this soggy mass/mess some hugely flavorful bite would appear...alas not.
      Though I loathe the server to patron ratio @ Father's Office..thier burger is WORLD'S better. Or.....Double meat, lettuce and onion only, please.

      1. While it isn't fair to compare The Counter with the A#1 top burgers in LA, I highly disagree with the gross comments. I've been there about 7 or 8 times now as I work in the general area. First of all, the concept is very cool. Build your own burgers. Chooose the size, type of bun, type of cheese, toppings (tons to choose from), and sauce. They have good fries, fried pickle chips, grilled veggies, and even a burger bowl salad, ie no bun in a salad format. The place is very clean and modern and is always packed for lunch. obviously there are many that disagree with the two previous posts. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your meals there.

        The people I've been with have enjoyed the beef. I usually get the turkey burger. I think it is a shade under 26 Beach's and Foodies' (two of the better turkey burgers in town), but still of high quality. The onion marmalade topping, roasted pepper topping, and garlic aoli all add to the burger.

        1. Here's a review of The Counter by L.A. Weekly's Jonathan Gold:

          Link: http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/21/cou...

          1. Sounds like a glorified Fuddruckers. I am instantly suspicious of burger joints where the choice of toppings is the star, and not the burger itself.

            1. I go to the Counter all the time. I dont know if you had a bad day there or what. But I have been there 15 to 20 times since thery have opened in December and always enjoyed it. One or two times I had a couple of problems but the overly friendly staff was quick to fix it. I am suprised you say the meat wasn't tasty because ALL of my burgers have been juicy and flavorful. Using words like gross and nasty for this place are completely ridiculous. It is one of the cleaner restaurants in LA and there toppings are always fresh and flavorful and yes plentiful but that is the whole point they have made it about the person s tastes. . But you are entitled to your opinion....whether it is right or wrong.

              1. While I certainly wouldn't say the Counter is GROSS, it was definitely underwhelming. The burgers were just too sloppy to contend with. The pickle fries are an intriguing concept, but seemed sort of overcooked, maybe even an old batch re-dumped in the frier. The music is way too loud, especially if the restaurant is half full. AND the service is slow, with a bizarre practice of serving the fries first, like an appetizer. Anyhow, it's not BAD, but when it first came out, it received a lot of hype, and so expectations were high. It is certainly a clean place....

                1. don't hate me for ressurecting an ancient thread but i came across this and had to post... i work near the counter, and while i certainly would not call it gross, it is definately far from the best burger i've had... i would rather go to gary's grill (now known as ocean park pizza - not sure if the burgers are the same) less than a block away, pay less, and taste more.

                  1. The Apple Pan remains a hallowed place to me. It is the only place to have a burger, (unless one is on the move and passes an In 'n Out, in which case, let the chips fall where they may.) Aside from having long standing friendships with the servers at The Pan, I once met Billy Wilder there, which imbued the place with a certain magic.

                    1. i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the flavorful blue cheese that they serve on the burgers at the counter. that cheese is a major reason why i'll drive the distance to enjoy a burger at the counter.

                      secondly, i LIKE the fact that they don't oversalt their meat.

                      if you ever were to go back, you might try the honey wheat bun. i've had that bun many times and never had a problem.

                      1. my apple pan story, from a few years ago: I was sitting there having luch, chatting with Gordon and a very nice distinguished older gentle man next to me, voice is kinda familiar.
                        Had a very nice lunch, chatted about the weather, LA, what makes a good apple pie etc... My neighbor left and I get up to pay the tab, Gordon asked "do you know who that was?" No.
                        "Gregory Peck."

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: 2ar2c1

                          You are so lucky to have been been graced by the presence of Mister Peck, but I bet he felt the same. A Fedex courier who used to service Mister Peck's address told me often about how nice - truly nice and cordial - Mister Peck was. He would always talk about down-home things like family with him as well. Never would his storied career come up. And every Christmas, Mister Peck would always give the courier a nice Christmas gift along with a card hand-written by him. What a great story - thanks...

                        2. Gross may be strong, but I get what you're saying. It's just not a very good burger. I agree that the toppings aren't even that good. I prefer that if you're going to offer choices, they should all be good choices. Everything done to the best of their ability. This is definitely not that. Plus, you can't start with a bad bun. The bun is an essential aspect of a good burger. I also don't get why they offer 1/3lb instead of 1/4. If anything is gross, it's a 1lb burger.