For anyone unfamiliar with the customized burger restaurant (or familiar with the concept but not the execution), I would suggest that you test drive both the concept and the execution at your local Counter. The restaurant is multiplying; not only do they now have 12 locations in California, but they are in other states from Connecticut to Hawaii, and even other countries, like Australia and Ireland.
The last time I visited was well over a year ago, so it was time for a check-up to see if the place was still as efficient and tasty as it was when there was a line down the block just to get in and place an order. If we had to eat during the 12-1pm typical lunch hour there may have been a wait for a table, but I was very grateful to find that there is no line to get in when I came in with my friends from France who wanted to try an American hamburger. Even though the big Mc Chain is appearing in some formerly sacred spaces (like inside the LOUVRE!), my friends were smart enough to ask me for the "real thing" on which the Mc Chain concept was based (food lovers tend to flock together).
There are four types of burgers to choose from, including the beef raised without any hormones or antibiotics, turkey, grilled chicken, or veggie, or you can do a burger salad if you don't want any one the 3 types of buns. Depending on how hungry you are, you can choose 1/3 pound to a full pound of the protein of your choice, then you have 10 cheeses to choose from, 18 regular toppings (you may choose up to 4 included in your burger price) and 10 premium toppings (available for an additional price). I was disappointed to find they had removed the special salmon burger, but in this economy it is better to offer fewer popular options. There are certainly enough choices for most people to create their version of a perfect burger.
I chose to have my 1/3 pound beef burger on a salad of mixed greens with tomatoes, sprouts, pepperoncinis and grilled onions.
One of my friends wanted the "classic" beef burger on a bun with Gruyere, grilled onions, lettuce and tomato.
My other friend chose the veggie burger with hard boiled eggs (yes, I thought it was strange too, but she wanted that option and since she was the one who was going to eat it, I did not say yuck), tomatoes, mixed greens and dill pickles.
We all split the fries which the French experts called "great" with crispy exteriors, creamy interiors and just enough salt to make them addictive even when they got cold.
None of us had any room for dessert, but everyone enjoyed what they had chosen and everyone cleaned their plates, not even leaving any trace of a topping! Good things tend to get better with age and experience, so let's hope the Counter grows into a nice ripe old age and moves into your neighborhood soon if it isn't already there.