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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Counter in Irvine

Customizing your own burger.  Brilliant concept -- unfortunately, one that is usually not done right.  Usually it's overpriced, sloppy and taste or quality is just overlooked.  And no -- it's not (always) the fault of the customer who fails at creating a burger that goes together.

The Counter isn't my favorite build your own burger place.  But it's a fairly decent one.  What makes it different from most other ones?  Almost nothing.  Well, except that the burgers are pretty good.  Okay, maybe there is something worth mentioning that differentiates The Counter from other competitors that are lacking. First of all, they have high quality ingredients.  The patties themselves are created by some juicy Angus beef.  (You can also choose other meats like turkey.)  The toppings, are fairly standard, ranging from dried cranberries to an organic greens mix to the standard lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.  There are also the premium toppings that are for an extra dollar, where you get to choose from certain things such as a fried egg or homemade guacamole.

What I really think differentiates The Counter from its competitors are the sauces.  A huge variety of sauces to choose from.  I've tried a few different ones so far and I've loved every single one that I've tried.

Basil Pesto -- Nice, but a tad over salted.
The starters/sides at The Counter are hit or miss.  The sweet potato fries are actually pretty bad.  Edible, but doesn't really carry through with the sweetness of the root it comes from.  The onion strings are pretty standard.  Nothing to write home about, except maybe it's a bit on the greasy side.  Unfortunately, there was still noticeable amounts of grease on the plate after we had eaten it.

Onion strings - Mediocre and lacking a crunch I desire from onion rings... yes, I know things are just "strings".

The parmesan fries are pretty amazing though.  Again, a tad over salted (this place seems to love their salt), but you're not grabbing your water cups after taking a bite so don't worry.  It has a wonderfully strong garlic flavor.  Perfect for garlic lovers like myself.

Parmesan Fries - Don't blame me, the plate came messy.
For a party of 4 we had just a bit leftover with two full order of sides.

My combo for this particular meal consisted of a bison patty, some organic greens, red onion and dill pickles.  I got a nice slice of imported Swiss cheese with my burger and finished it with the basil pesto.  If you're not feeling creative you can also order one of their signature burgers.  There will soon be a "The Food Pirates Burger" on the menu.  I swear.

For a party of 4 you're looking at roughly $60-$70.  Approximately $10/burger, $5/side and $5/drink.

The Counter
6416 Irvine Blvd
Irvine, CA 92620