Review: The Counter Burger – Custom Built Burgers

30 08 2010

Phew, back in Australia. Well it feels like I’ve been to the US, when in fact I just went north to The Counter, a little slice of America in Crows Nest.  I’m not normally that interested in something that could be described as a “family restaurant”. Apart from the fact that that’s how Maccas positions itself, eating out surrounded by other people’s kids isn’t my scene. But needs must, and I was on the north shore in need of a burger.

And did I find a burger. The top half of the menu is a pick your own questionnaire, first of all you choose from Beef, Turkey, Chicken or Vegetarian, then the size (150g, 300g or a whopping 450g), a choice of 10 cheeses, including “imported swiss” whatever that is, 18 toppings, 10 premium toppings, 17 sauces and 3 sorts of burger bun. It’s reasonably priced for a gourmet burger on the lower north shore – $14.90 for the perfectly adequate 150g, $17.90 for a filling 300g and an eye-watering $21.90 for a challenging 450g. Four regular toppings, one cheese, and one sauce are included. You can even ditch the bread and have it in a bowl with salad if you’re watching the carbohydrates.

Did I mention carbs? Chips, sorry fries, are nice and crisp, but come in a ginormous portion that would serve at least three. Other options include Sweet Potato Chips and excellent Crispy Fried Onion Strings, and the “Fifty-Fifty” which is half chips, half onion rings.  In fact the onion rings are the clear winner of the meal. Finely sliced floured and deep-fried slightly caramelised onion rings are crispy and perfectly seasoned (in contrast to the chips which are over salty).

The burger itself was made from good quality meat, but somehow it missed the spot. You can probably blame user error for that really as I chose clashing options from the multiple-choice menu. There is much to be said for a pre-defined menu with choices that work well together as designed by a proper chef. Oh, what? I am a chef? As I said. User error.

Did I say it felt like an American restaurant? What could be more American than Apple Pie on the menu? Well, um, an Apple Pie Milkshake.  I’m sorry, I didn’t have the balls to order one!

As for service, well it was friendly and adequate. Nothing special but competent.

All in all, would I rush back? Nope. There are as good/better gourmet burgers around the place. Would I be happy to go back at some unspecified time in the future? Yup. Probably.

Overall grade: C+.


Address: 118 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Tel: 02 9436 2700
Open: Lunch and Dinner Thursday to Sunday, Dinner Tuesday to Sunday.


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