Our family went to dinner at The Counter last night, a new eatery in town. The concept behind this place is that it is a build-your-own burger joint.
Walking in we were greeted by very friendly people with fantastic music in the background. My husband and I were amused that somehow the place has managed to hit the exact right blend of music. Not only did we like it, our teenager liked it and our young server liked it too. We were given a menu that allowed us to create our perfect burger from four different proteins, the choice of a burger or a bowl, followed by a very wide selection of cheeses, toppings, sauces, and a choice of buns.
My husband ordered a beef burger with gruyere cheese and an assortment of toppings, our daughter choose a veggie burger with her topping preferences and I choose a chicken breast to be served in a bowl. Several things stood out with our order that I thought were fabulous. Their beef is humanely raised, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free and they claim it is never frozen. The veggie burgers are made in-house and are not simply reheated, cardboard tasting, burger-shaped pucks. My salad was made with organic greens. All three tasted absolutely delicious. The beef was tender, juicy and very flavorful. The veggie burger was, quite frankly, the best veggie burger I have ever had. I'm not sure how they make it but it was moist and really stood out compared to any other veggie burger. My chicken salad came on a bed of organic greens with the most amazing pesto. I loved the fact that my sauce came on the side so I could choose how much I put on my meal. We also shared some sweet potato fries with a horseradish mayonnaise. While I'm certainly used to eating mayonnaise with my fries I will confess that I really don't like horseradish so I was suspicious of why anyone would put it into mayonnaise. It turned out to be the perfect compliment to the fries. Not too strong, certainly not overwhelming, just a tiny bit of bite that went very well with the sweetness of the thin cut fries. We ended the meal by sharing an oversize chocolate chip cookie that was so large we wound up taking half of it home. And speaking of taking it home, I was really happy to see a wax paper lined box instead of a styrofoam container.
A few things stood out to me that I think would improve the restaurant. The artwork was great but I felt that otherwise the blue and chrome decor was rather cold and sparse. I'd love to see it warmed up a bit. I'm a little disappointed that with all of the wonderful local, organic, humanely raised, etc they still had conventional ketchup on the table. Sadly that ketchup is made with high fructose corn syrup and not a healthy choice. I would also have liked sea salt and fresh ground pepper on the table.
Overall I think this restaurant has a lot going for it and I hope that it will be successful and stay in the area. I love the concept, I really like a lot of their food choices and what they stand for. I absolutely admire the fact that a number of things, their sauces, the veggie burger, and even their cookies are all made in-house on the premises. That speaks a lot to the quality that they are going for and it shows in how tasty their food is.
I liked the food so much that as I was walking out the door I was already thinking about ideas for what I will build the next time I go back.
If you haven't been yet go check it out, they have locations all over the country and even a couple of locations in Ireland.