Friday, June 10, 2011

Encountering the Counter

The Counter
6416 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92620

The Counter is one of those places that you always hear about. I have actually been here one time before, but this was before I started my blog. I had been meaning to come back sooner and blog about it, but the opportunity had never come up, until now. We have really been on a burger kick lately. We have been to Slater's 50/50, Five Guys, Bravo Burger, and Fuddrucker's within the last month, so it was the perfect time for us to compare The Counter to the other burgers.

The Counter has been around since 2003. Since that time, they have expanded to nine other states, and even opened restaurants in Ireland. Their next wave of expansion is taking them to the Middle East, where they plan on having three units in operation by the end of the year. There has to be a reason for all of this expansion, let's see if it is the food.

We arrived at The Counter at six on a Wednesday night. I was expecting a wait, but we were sat right away. The decor here kind of strikes me as very sterile, but with a hip vibe. When seated you are presented with a clip board to help you build your perfect burger. You get to choose the type of burger, size, toppings, cheese, and sauces that you want on your burger. They have just about anything you could imagine for a burger. They did the math, and with all of their ingredients, you could have a different burger everyday for the next 312,000 days. That is the equivalent of 854 years. Of course eating all those hamburgers would probably decrease your odds of living to 854 years old, but what a way to go!

To start our meal out we got a few side items. We selected French Fries, Crispy Onion Strings, and Sweet Potato Fries. To be honest, none of us were in love with any of these sides. The fries were average, the onion strings were bland, and sweet potato fries I am not a fan of anywhere. My dining companions felt that the sweet potato fries were the best of the bunch, so I will defer to their opinion about these.

Now the reason we are all here, the burgers. Up first is Ryan's creation. He wanted blue cheese, bacon, red onion, spicy pepperonchinis, roasted corn and black bean salsa, chipotle aioli, all on a wheat bun. Ryan quickly gobbled up this interesting burger. He felt the burger was full of flavor, and he really enjoyed the bun here.

Richard was very amped to try the Counter, and after some deliberation he chose this as his burger. He went with herb goat cheese spread, red onion, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and roasted garlic aioli. Richard had no problem putting this burger away. He really enjoyed this burger, but felt this burger was good because of the high quality of the toppings.

I went for a more traditional approach to my hamburger. My two-thirds pound burger was topped with grilled onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, red onion and mayonnaise.This was a very juicy burger to say the least. I ordered this medium and that is the way it came out. The toppings on this were definitely high quality. The meat by itself was good, but could have been seasoned a little more.

The last burger of the night belonged to Katie. She opted for a multi grain bun with guacamole, fried egg, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, roasted green chili's, queso fresco, and chipotle mayo. She really enjoyed this self named, "Mexican omelet burger". The guacamole really stood out for Katie. She also felt that the toppings at the Counter really were fresh, and helped make this a superior burger.

Every month at The Counter they have a shake of the month, and while we were here it was the Churro Shake, and Richard could not resist it. Little pieces of churro were sprinkled into this vanilla based shake. Richard felt that this shake had a subtle flavor, but it was also real good and creamy.

To finish off our meal we also got a Caramel and Chocolate Brownie Sundae. The brownie was very chewy, which I like. I would get this again, but ask for more ice cream. There was not nearly enough ice cream for the size of brownie that they gave us.

So you ask, how does The Counter rate among the titans of the hamburger world? I liked The Counter. I feel that what makes them good are their toppings, and the high quality of them. Do I like them more than Slater's? No. The burgers at Slater's are a little more inventive. The meat at The Counter can not stand on its own like Slater's, (maybe because the meat at Slater's is half bacon, which can never be a bad thing). I am not dogging on The Counter though. I would definitely return. I did have a really good experience here, and there is always room in my hamburger repertoire for more than one burger place.

Out of five Formica counter tops, (for the obvious reason), five being best to zero being worst, The Counter gets 3 Formica counter tops.

For more information on The Counter, click here:

The Counter Irvine on Urbanspoon

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