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the counter = yum

  • w

stopped by the counter on ocean park in santa monica last night for a burger. hadn't been there since it opened about a year and a half ago and as i devoured my designer burger i wondered why. the place is packing them in, but the wait is never too long. we actually snagged two seats at the counter. the meat is fresh, the fries and onion strings tasty and addicting and being able to create my own burger with so many choices and still keeping the price down is a joy.

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  1. thanks for the review. i've been dying to come up and try a burger from them but haven't yet!

    mmm :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: junglekitte

      Me too. The parking situation scares me, especially @ Lunchtime when I can go.

    2. The COUNTER rocks. They have sweet potato fries now too. Always get a Dr. Pepper float to go along with the burger...

      1. I respectfully dissent.

        The Counter just doesn't work for me. The meat is obviously very good but for whatever reason always tastes really bland. There are theoretically a zillion combinations but most of them don't really work all that well, and to me there is a sort of fallacy at work in a place where (beyond just a very few pre-set combinations) the customer is expected to do all the thinking about what combinations will work and what won't. I'd like to see some evidence that someone is actually thinking about a variety of choices that taste good together, instead of just throwing a bunch of stuff onto a checklist.

        Fries are OK, onion rings maybe a bit better than OK but I get tired of them after just a few so maybe not. Milkshakes are not bad but nothing spectacular either. My wife likes the idea of the burger in a bowl but she also agrees that the meat is bland. PayOrPlay Jr. doesn't really like anything there very much except the soda--not even the giant cookie. All in all, not a big success for us.

        Certainly the crowds at The Counter and the many positive opinions here show that lots of people like the place, but I'd just as soon get my next burger at Islands.

        Or Aroma, where I took-out the absolutely kick-ass pljeskavica for lunch today--a big, skinny, oniony burger served on a huge fresh baked roll topped with nothing but a few onions, some sliced tomato and some cole slaw on the side (you have to order the salads separately). Now THAT's an interesting burger.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PayOrPlay

          We had a terrible experience at the Counter and would probably never go back. They completely lost our order and refused to acknowledge their goof up until we had been waiting, food-less for an hour, when they finally admitted they'd not yet begun to make our food, at which point we asked for it to go and left in complete disgust.

          1. re: PayOrPlay

            it's interesting all right but all about the meat, even though onions arrived on the side, there was almost no veggies with this thing, it's like a prettty darn big all meat patty stuffed into two slices of hefty ciabiatto type bread.

            1. re: PayOrPlay

              I find their burgers on the dry side. They are probably lower in fat than some other places that I like better (e.g., Houston's and 26 Beach). I also like the idea of the burger in a bowl, but the meat is usually overcooked and tasteless. I've stopped going to the Counter.

            2. go back today-- the wait is ridiculous!

              1 Reply
              1. re: houndofchow

                The Counter = yuck.

                Concept sounds good, but the actual burgers are sloppy, bland, and blah. Overpriced for what you get, and service is poor.

                And do we want our fries served ten minutes before our burger? No, we do not.

              2. Their sweet potato fries = amazing.

                1. i really like eating at the counter, BUT i'd never go again at lunchtime. once i went at lunch and they were trying to process a 'to go' order of over thirty burgers each one having a unique preparation. the kitchen staff just couldn't handle this AND handle the restaurant orders. it was a zoo.

                  that said:

                  the meat is good and it is fresh--not the frozen grease glob found in so many other places.
                  also, the meat is not overly salted so that if you put a good cheese on it, such as blue cheese or cheddar, the salt level is right.

                  their veggie burger is imho one of the best in town.
                  they use a really good quality blue cheese.
                  i like their apricot sauce.

                  i really appreciate the many choices, AND i feel that there are MANY, MANY, tasty combinations that can be created here. (to pay or play: i really don't need nor want the restaurant to do the thinking for me)

                  they use a GOOD quality ice cream for their shakes UNLIKE so many of the other places in town that use the worst quality institutional ice cream with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil substituting for butterfat and phoney flavors.

                  their greens are always good and fresh, never wilted or tired.

                  to me, the good outweighs the bad.