The Counter in Santa Monica is Absolutely GROSS
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.