Following yesterday’s vegan break, we now return to our previously carnivorous ways.
Step #1 of the “Build Your Own Burger” scorecard at The Counter has a vegetarian option, but I was there for the beef. Just a one-third pounder, thanks, though there are 2/3 and full-pound options available for those seeking a beefier blast.
The next four steps involve choosing cheese, toppings (you can choose four basic toppings and add more, or even premium toppings, for an additional charge), sauce, and bun (choice of a regular hamburger bun, honey wheat bun, or an English muffin), so there are lots of decisions to be made. The Counter calculates that there are over 312, 120 burger permutations, so they offer a handful of signature burgers; my overwhelmed dining companion went “Old-School,” which offers Tillamook cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and red relish. (She added bacon to all this.) I, on the other hand, wanted to play with options, and selected japapeno jack cheese, bermuda red onion, roasted chiles, fried egg, and homemade guacamole (the last two are premium toppings) along with spicy sour cream (as my sauce, as I didn’t think ginger soy glaze, peppercorn steak sauce, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, or most of the others work match my Mexican-style choices) on a regular bun.
The beef is from Meyer Company Ranch, and is hormone and antibiotic-free. Not bad for a chain restaurant, right? And might I mention that it was cooked to perfection? My burger was fun, but a bit much; it was fun to build my own burger, but the more basic, Old-School burger would have suited me just fine. Add to this a sampling of starters (French fries, sweet potato fries, and crispy onion rings with a variety of sauces, as well as some interesting fried dill pickle chips) and a huge shake (I built my own: chocolate and peanut butter – though I’d recommend chocolate and banana as a less sweet option), and I was sufficiently stuffed.
Expect to push $20 per person for such a meal (the burger is $8.25), and you’re at the same price point as another acclaimed Ballard burger joint. But while I generally dislike chains, The Counter offers friendlier service, ample clean space, and those 312,120+ options. No wonder I saw lots of smiles from customers aged 2-92 as they were biting into their burgers.