Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Counter - Irvine

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Woodbury Town Center
6416 Irvine Boulevard
Irvine California 92620
Official Site
(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?

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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.

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Have dinner with Sid and Johnny

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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

Comments on "The Counter - Irvine"

Blogger polar said ... (November 22, 2007 at 12:19 AM) : 

I have been waiting and waiting for this place to open up in Irvine. I've been to the santa monica one a few times but the drive is pretty harsh. This is one of my fav burger places. Customizable burger to any bun, meat, toppings, even EGG~! wooT~ thanks Christian.

Blogger Vegasbuff said ... (November 25, 2007 at 5:59 PM) : 

Looks good. Can't wait to try it.

Blogger nhbilly said ... (November 26, 2007 at 12:28 PM) : 

Ever tried the patty's medium rare? I think it taste better that way.

Blogger brekkie_fan said ... (November 29, 2007 at 4:05 PM) : 

hey Christian, it was good to run into you at the counter (literally, ha!). I have your pic in front *plus* the TR brunch ones with Russ. Will get them to you soon. Sorry. Thanksgiving kicked my *ss.

Blogger ChristianZ said ... (November 30, 2007 at 11:24 AM) : 

Cool. Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

Blogger Chubbypanda said ... (December 4, 2007 at 9:09 PM) : 

Man, no burger should be too big to fit your mouth around. A burger that requires a knife and fork has missed the point entirely.

Blogger melissa said ... (December 11, 2007 at 5:29 PM) : 

just went here last wednesday (because of you and edwin both reviewing it actually), and enjoyed it very much. we got very similar burgers, but I got jalapenos on mine. the onion strings were also awesome dipped in the bbq sauce.

thanks for the review!

Blogger ChristianZ said ... (December 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM) : 

Glad you liked it. Sounds like I could've punched up my burger with some jalapenos. Brekkie_fan told me she had invited Edwin to come on the opening night but he wasn't able to make it till later.

Blogger One Food Guy said ... (December 21, 2007 at 10:31 AM) : 

Love The Counter! I've been to the Santa Monica location a couple times and I agree, great burger, great fries, great shakes. It's just all around good, in my opinion.

Anonymous "Spike" said ... (February 3, 2008 at 1:27 PM) : 

From the excited staff to the relaxing atmosphere, our journey to The Counter in Irvine was a grand experience!
Shakes 2 share were the best ever. The sweet potaote fries w/ assorted sauces made the transition to the heaping, great burger a fun date!
Great taste all around from the friendly staff, cool surroundings and flavorful bites.
Can't wait for The Counter to appear in So. Orange County! Get to Irvine while you can before the Summer wait list! We'll be back for the next burger biuld off! Thank you everyone!! "Spike"

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (March 24, 2008 at 3:22 PM) : 

Pretty bummed out. Decided to take the drive saturday and check the place out. It was about 2:30 pm and about 5 other diners in the restaurant. took about 25 min to finally get our burgers to find out they were not our dishes! well they were, but they completely messed up the order. Forgot 2/4 of my toppings, brought the wrong sauce, and wrong bun. Finally got my order corrected and I was so excited, to bite into the driest turkey burger i'd ever have in my life. I took a friend with me, just to have him receive the wrong order as well. And a medium well burger, which was so bloody the bun was pink. I lost my appetite just looking at his bloody burger. He sent it back and they actually stood up for their burger stating that is how they serve them. Knowing it was our first visit, they took care of our meals. They stated to come back during their busy hours, when things pick up. ????? Made no sense to me. But i must say, onion strings + fries = mmMMmmmm.

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (May 6, 2008 at 10:39 AM) : 

The more bloody the better! That's the way burgers (ground steak) should be made! I've been to the Irvine location a few times and have never been disappointed! The staff has some of the cutest girls around! :-)

Blogger DanGarion said ... (May 8, 2008 at 3:32 PM) : 

My wife and I are going to head out to The Counter tonight for our first experience there. Can't wait!

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