Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Counter

I've probably said it before, but I'll say it again... I don't know if a burger and fries have ever failed to put me in a good mood. I love stuffed shells and pizza and chimichangas... dim sum and smoked duck and frozen custard make my day... but a cheeseburger and french fries just plain make me happy.

We were heading to Santana Row, which is an area of San Jose where we've been a couple of times before. With Borders closing all over the place, we wanted to go take advantage of some discounted items, and Jim suggested we all eat at The Counter. He had been there a few times before, but not recently. It's a smaller chain of burger places, where the big concept is "build your own burger."

You check boxes on a sheet filled with options, specifying the size of your burger, how you want it cooked, the type of bun, the cheese, the sauce, the toppings, etc. They also have this for drinks - pick your juice, liquor, spritzer, garnish, etc. I thought that was funny. We ordered a fifty-fifty to share - french fries and sweet potato fries in combination. There were tons... 5 people could have shared them. They weren't the best ever, and the flavor was nothing unique, but they worked. We also got fried pickles, since I love them and we haven't had them in a long time. They were thick and the sauce with which they were served wasn't tangy, which we generally expect. I wouldn't get them again, but it was nice to at least see them available out here!

I chose a ciabatta bun and a 1/3 lb burger, well-done. Cheddar cheese, garlic aioli, tomato, grilled onion, pickle, and banana peppers rounded it out. It was pretty good, though not exquisite. I'd get another burger there. Jonathan and Jim both felt theirs were under-cooked (they asked for medium-rare and got more of a rare), which is a common complaint when you read other reviews of this place. We all loved the grilled onions, but after that we had very different options. Jim ate his pretty quickly, and Jonathan was pretty happy with his selections. If there's one near you, I'd suggest you consider giving it a try - you might like it.

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