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Chain build-your-own burger joint: choose beef, chicken, turkey, or veggie, then cheese, toppings, and a sauce. There's also ice cream and a full bar.

Our Review

There must be some latent anti-west coast bias in me that initially smirked at the idea of a bunless "burger bowl," what the folks behind exploding Santa Monica burger chain the Counter call what is essentially a burger salad. But the two I sampled, belonging to a pair of carb-conscious but pleasure-loving eaters, were really tasty. And that's the thing--if the natural beef patties here are all as consistently seasoned and cooked to order as the ones I’ve tried, then a bad burger can really only be blamed on the decisions of the customer. But building a burger from a clipboard list of options—-with more than 312,120 possible combinations—-is a daunting proposition, and the potential for crimes against nature is enormous. It’s possible, for instance, to order a one-pound veggie burger with Danish blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs, grilled pineapple, corn-and-black-bean salsa, carrot strings, honey-cured bacon, and peanut sauce on an English muffin. However, if you feel incapable of wielding that power responsibly, the house Counter burger--with provolone, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette--is an excessive and reliably good default.

Mike Sula

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Price: $
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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