The Counter - Irvine
Woodbury Town Center
6416 Irvine Boulevard
Irvine California 92620
(At the request of the Counter's Kelly Carroll, I have updated the "Official Site URL. - Chubbypanda)
Being a regular reader of the Fast Food Maven's blog at the OC Register website, including her coverage of The Counter, I was anxious to get to The Counter on the day it opened. Not overwhelmingly anxious, but, hey, you've gotta eat three times a day (roughly) and when dinner time comes why not try out a new place?
The Counter is a gourmet hamburger joint where you fill out order forms attached to a clipboard. You can specify how much beef you want, the kind of cheese you want, the toppings you want, the sauce(s) you want, and the kind of bun you want. Just check off the boxes next to everything you want on your burger. Supposedly there are ~300,000 combinations, but it's hard to pin down the number exactly because you customize your burger further by writing directions in any white space you see on the order form. Yes, I took advantage of that fact by writing in that I wanted my meat cooked well and my bun toasted.
While I was there I kept looking around for other food bloggers and finally found brekkie_fan there. She was nearly finishing up her meal when I encountered her and I was just starting mine but her and her friend stuck around while we talked about all sorts of stuff of interest to food bloggers.
Had noticed on their official site that the shake of the month is a Pumpkin Pie shake but this brand new location didn't have that flavor yet so I went for a peanut butter malt, which, color-wise, blended in very well with The Counter's counter:
As a side I got their sweet potato fries and onion strings, a sort of gourmet version of the "Frings" that Jack in the Box used to have. I liked that it came with barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, and chipotle sauce. They have several other sides to try so that it'll be hard to get bored making numerous visits here.
For my burger, my ultimate bacon cheeseburger, I got a 1/3 lb. patty (it's the smallest size available) cooked well on a toasted honey wheat bun, with sweet barbecue sauce, Bermuda red onions, imported Swiss cheese, honey cured bacon, and sauteed mushrooms:
The hamburger has a small circumference but a lot of height. In other words, it's tall. This does look good for photo purposes but is hard to eat. I had to mush mine down by hand so I could fit it in my mouth. This is not a big complaint for me but I imagine other people will have an even harder time eating their burgers without dismantling them first. Have to say that the meat was much better than what I'm usually getting from fast food joints and even a little better than the beef from the Fuddruckers I just went to.
Finished off with a piece of dense, rich key lime pie:
If you like good quality hamburgers where you can control every detail and throw some gourmet toppings in to boot, then give The Counter a try.