Friday, April 2, 2010

The Best Thing I Ate Today: The Counter

I have long been a fan of The Counter. Even when their lone location was all the way in Marina del Rey and the wait time rarely dropped below 45 minutes, bellying up at The Counter has been worth it. The restaurant equivalent of a massive game of Memory, they invite you to mix and match from a menu that includes five different burgers, 11 cheeses and 21 toppings, not to mention an array of sauce options and elite add-ons.

Hey, Umami, take note. This is how a burger should be served, the high-end BK way were the customer is always right and doesn't have to kowtow to your decrees.

And now, blessing of blessings, a new location has opened just two blocks from my apartment. Understandably, I have big plans to slowly but surely eat my way through their DIY menu and I started today.

Continuing my good Passover Jew-i-ness, I went bunless (oh heavens me) and my mouth was rewarded mightily. Rather than loading up one of their superb Honey Wheat Buns with something like a 2/3rds pound turkey burger with dried cranberries, jalapeno jack cheese, fried onion strings and chipotle aoili (drool), I opted for a to-go chicken burger bowl ($9.50).

On a bed of chopped romaine and iceberg lettuce (hate on it all you want but I love me some iceberg), came alfalfa sprouts, jalapeno rings, dill pickle chips and grilled onions, all tossed in dijon balsamic dressing and topped with, not a burger, but a juicy grilled chicken breast and what seemed like half a pound of herbed goat cheese.

It was all the makings of both a finger lickin' chicken sandwich and a crisp, healthy salad, but so much better. The goat cheese melted into the dressing and onions, making a creamy, tangy coating for the lightly charred chicken breast which the crunchy lettuce clung to. Each bite held a new discovery; the fire of a jalapeno here, the summery freshness of alfalfa sprouts there, all fused together by a garlic-herbiness. Even without a 45 minute drive to a 45 minute wait, The Counter is worth standing in line for, Kogi-style. I'm just thrilled I no longer have to.

The Counter
multiple locations

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