January 18, 2006 - The Counter (by Matt)
Many people think being a burger tourist is simply an excuse to lead a foolhardy lifestyle of fast cars and knockout girlfriends, but I can attest that it is an earnest job that we burger tourists take very seriously. When you have to disentangle the failings of a subpar burger, it becomes a tedious job that is readily scorned by burger critics alike. None of this weariness is necessary in the case of The Counter. High marks all around because this place rocks.
In case you've never been to The Counter, it works like this: you build your own burger by specifying the burger, cheese, toppings, sauce, and roll all from the convenience of a clipboard menu. There are plenty of ingredients to get creative with but be warned that these burgers are not diminutive in any way. My 2/3 lb burger was much more than I bargained for but I displayed due respect and finished the job. The organic beef is lean and as a result not as juicy as you would normally expect, but still delicious and worthy of praise from any burger epicure.
If you have not yet been to this gem of a burger establishment, I urge you to go immediately. You'll feel at ease in the restaurant's modern open space surrounded by copious amounts of local artwork. Although The Counter was sporting a healthy sized crowd on the evening of our visit, our ten person burger coterie was quickly accommodated and welcomed by the affable staff. This is a lot more than I can say about a certain other Santa Monica burger establishment. And in case none of this is convincing you to try The Counter's burger, allow me to present it in the words of Whitney Tucker: if you don't eat at The Counter, the terrorists win. Now go build your burger.