Thursday, April 22, 2010


Los Angeles Location

Because the menus are similar and we did the joints back to back, there was a strong comparison between 8 OZ and The Counter, making this write-up unique the others, which were, for the most part, too different to compare.

I arrived a few minutes early and sat down at the bar to enjoy a lovely Blue Moon while I waited for my good friends, Samantha and Kunu.  While perusing the menu, I noticed it was slightly different from their Santa Monica menu, offering fried pickles and chili cheese fries among other things. I knew Samantha would want those fried pickles immediately, and the minute she sat down, she ordered them. I was skeptical, since I dislike pickles and 8 OZ hadn’t changed my mind, but I have to say I actually liked these! I even ate a second one! They come with an Apricot Sauce, but Samantha asked for ranch dressing with them, and that was definitely a better combination. Samantha still prefers the 8 OZ pickles, she likes the batter better. We also ordered onion strings, fries and sweet potato fries- but I’ll get to those in a second. We didn’t order off the Market Selection, but they made a point of having a market burger concocted with local ingredients.

Samantha built her own burger, with beef, tomato, bacon, mixed greens and a fried egg served on an English muffin with mayo. (Whatever sauce you order comes on the side.) She liked it, but felt it was messy because the yolk soaked into the muffin the minute she cut into it. Flavors were good for her, but she preferred 8 OZ.  

Kunu built his own burger with beef, grilled onions, mixed greens, jalapeno jack cheese, and a generous serving of avocado on a wheat bun. His plate was definitely clean at the end of the meal. Kunu hasn't been to 8 OZ, so he can't pass any judgment just yet. 

I built my own burger, but with fairly classic ingredients: beef, yellow American cheese, tomato, mixed greens, bacon and mayo on a traditional bun. You can add onion strings as one of your toppings, but since I ordered them as a side I stacked them on myself! The flavors were perfect, bacon was thick cut, texture was on the softer side, but I absolutely loved it. It came out colorful, messy, buttery and pink- all their burgs are pink unless you say otherwise. I picked it up, but it definitely got soggy and messy.  I didn’t care, I couldn’t cut it up; that would have been sacrilegious.

Now for the sides: I loved the fries! They were skinny and crisp and seasoned.  Samantha and Kunu preferred the sweet potato fries, which were good, and crisper than most sweet potato fries, but I like the saltier taste of the skinny fries. The Counter’s onion strings are light and crisp. They cut the onions super thin, and the batter is on the lighter side, making 'strings' an appropriate name. They came with ranch and barbecue sauce- excellent choices- and the sweet potato fries came with a chipotle aioli we all enjoyed.

The atmosphere is exactly what you’d want out with friends: Cheerful, fun and sociable, with attention to detail at every turn. They played classic rock and the art on the walls was all rock n roll. (The Santa Monica location has painted skateboards on the walls!)  Of all the joints we’ve been so far, I would say their service was the best. They were friendly and attentive, and the manager checked in on us twice. Samantha actually bonded with our waitress over their North Carolina roots. I think good service can make or break a dining experience and The Counter made me feel valued. That location has only been open for less than a month, so it’s definitely a good sign.  You can park in the back lot, and its two hours free with validation.

The other patrons ranged in age from kids to seniors, but leveled out to mostly groups of friends aged 15-40. Even though we staggered in at all different times there wasn’t a wait until around 7:30 when it started to get pretty crowded. We ended up sitting at the counter (ha!) and enjoyed our views of everyone else’s burgs. Since we were sitting at the bar and came straight from work, it was only logical to order some delicious Blue Moons served with a thick orange wedge. They also have wine, fountain soda, floats, shakes and malts, so basically everything that goes with burgers. (The Santa Monica location does a shake of the month!) 

Cost is reasonable, most burgers are around $10, depending on how many fancy toppings you get, beers were $5-8 and the sides are all around $5. I have to say, I also really like the way The Counter’s menu is organized. You literally fill out your own burger paperwork, and can include special instructions if you like. I think this limits burger errors and saves time and money. The menu has a few sandwiches and more appetizers I’d like to try the next time around.

I’d like to go to 8 OZ again and order one of their burgs (as opposed to building my own) but at the moment, for my money and my taste buds, I like The Counter better.


  1. Geez, I hope they paid you for that shiny review! It made me HUNGRY! So if you don't mind, I would like to be taken there immediately when I come up to visit. (That is unless they don't have cocktails.) Then we need cocktails first and then fried pickles and burgers.

    I think I am going to have a martini and fry some pickles at home right now. My mouth is watering!


  2. I would love that! Didn't know you were going by Trish, is that a new thing??

  3. Govind Armstrong, he's so hot right now. Well done, Mal. When I'm in town we're going and getting strictly sides of fried pickles, onion rings, fries. Done and Done. L&L, Hendo.