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The Counter - Irvine

Midlife Jun 25, 2009 06:08 PM

My son and I needed to get away for some quiet business consultation and he knows I'm a burger guy so he suggested The Counter in Irvine (at Sand Canyon & Irvine Blvd.). 2:00PM and the place was almost empty. Nice, clean space in a center I didn't even know was there (don't get to that specific area often).

I'd read some mixed reviews here, especially about the way they have out of control order-at-the-counter service during the day, but this location has table service all the time. So much for that issue.

Lots of build-it-yourself options....... 1/4lb burger was $9 with several toppings. I ordered swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions and grilled peppers. Medium rare was actually medium rare. Mixed side of onion strings and sweet potato fries was $5.50 (I think)...... reasonable portion and the SP fries were REALLY good.......... served with 3 different dips. My son had blue cheese, lettuce, grilled onions, roasted red peppers. Pic of son's burger attached.

This was a pretty good experience. Everything was done correctly. Only issue was bun integrity. Burgers with lots of soft and slippery toppings require a bun of more than average stability, which this didn't have. Then again, a messy burger can be more fun.

We'd go back.

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  1. r
    RSMBob RE: Midlife Jun 26, 2009 10:11 PM

    My disappointment with The Counter is all financial...1/4 lb burger $9. That makes a pretty darn good burger and nice place a rare treat instead of a regular stop in my book

    1 Reply
    1. re: RSMBob
      Midlife RE: RSMBob Jun 26, 2009 11:10 PM

      Sorry. That should have been 1/3 pound for $8.50. If it helps any. Have to admit that the basic elements of a Double-Double w/fries and a drink will run $15 at The Counter. What's different is the size of the overall burger, the quality of the meat, the variety of quality toppings and the amount of fries you get. And..........I've never actually had a medium-rare burger at In-n-Out. The Counter patty was thick enough to actually be pink through the middle.

      I would admit that, when in the market for a REALLY good burger and fries at $15, I would more likely opt for Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach.

    2. OC Mutt RE: Midlife Jun 27, 2009 05:53 AM

      The counter makes a very good burger and very good fries. But it's not so spectacular that it's worth enduring the crowds. It's priced a bit more premium than it should be, but to me the most important reflection of the place is that I haven't had the desire to return.

      2 Replies
      1. re: OC Mutt
        Midlife RE: OC Mutt Jun 27, 2009 08:53 AM

        2PM Thursday............... 3 tables occupied, then a fourth party at the counter. News about Michael Jackson was just breaking, so maybe that's why. Or is Irvine a business lunchtime rush only?

        1. re: Midlife
          OC Mutt RE: Midlife Jun 28, 2009 02:15 AM

          Nope, on weekend nights the Irvine branch is jammed starting around 5:20PM. Can't attest for lunch crowds, never been.

      2. i
        ilikefood RE: Midlife Jun 27, 2009 10:22 AM

        "a messy burger can be more fun." - Midlife

        Midlife, other Chowhounds - What is it about a messy burger that can make it more fun?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ilikefood
          Midlife RE: ilikefood Jun 27, 2009 03:10 PM

          I think it's one of those "If I have to explain it, you won't get it" things. Ask Padma Lakshmi or Audrina Partridge.

          Actually........... I said "can be" more fun. There's a delicate tipping point at which oozing toppings, crumbling buns, and finger-licking turns from fun to something less.

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