The Counter, 21 Aug 2009

Who doesn’t like a good burger? Whether it’s childhood memories of times spent in that infamous institution of the golden arches, a simple hamburger or a gourmet stack with the lot, burgers offer juicy, meaty comfort held within the confines of a burger bun. When Simon Thomsen discussed his love of burgers plenty of people offered their opinions on where to find their favourites. This provided much fodder for my ever-growing dining “hit list”, of which one of the suggestions was The Counter.

Located at Crows Nest, The Counter is the only Australian outlet of a quintessentially American burger chain that allows you to custom-build your burger from the options available. The place has a beachy diner interior, with some ‘outdoor’ seats shaded by awnings at the front. Each customer is given a clipboard with a form so they can mix and match the ingredients on offer, which results in many musings and much indecision from us at the table – choices, choices!

We start with ‘The Fifty-Fifty’ of fries and onion strings alongside barbecue sauce and tartare. Onion ‘strings’ is a most apt description as the onions are crisp, thinly battered slivers sharing a bowl with chicken-salt fries. Both fries and onion strings prove popular, especially when dipped in the tartare, and we finish more than half the bowl before our burgers arrive.

Mistress tries the ‘Burger of the Month’ which, at the time, is a Maryland-style lump crabcake burger. It has a crabcake topped with bacon-coleslaw on a hamburger bun with lemon-basil tartare. She feels that there are not enough discernable crab bits in the crabcake and I agree with her that the crabcake could be firmer. Despite its crumbliness, it does not have a fishy pong and is quite nice with the creamy bacon-coleslaw.

Monsieur Poisson and I have both taken the option to custom-build our burgers. He has a 150g beef patty topped with gruyère, tomato, lettuce blend and grilled onions on a wholemeal bun with horseradish cream. The patty is a little dry in the centre and the horseradish cream lacks more of a punch. However the onions are sweet and the bun is soft and great for dipping into our growing collection of sauces.

I have the 150g patty as well but with Colby cheese, tomato, beetroot and lettuce blend on a hamburger bun with roasted garlic aioli. My patty, although the same size as Monsieur Poisson’s, seems shorter and flatter. Somehow my patty is more moist in the centre, no doubt aided by the presence of beetroot. I love beetroot in general, but especially on burgers for its tart juices to help cut through any fat. The aioli doesn’t have enough of a garlic kick to it for my liking but it is very smooth and creamy.

After our burgers we fail to finish the last scraps of our onion strings and fries, and this was without attempting any of the interesting milkshake options! Will need to get back and give these a try… sometime.

118 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW
Tel: (02) 9436 2700

Opening Hours:  Mon  CLOSED
Tues & Wed  11:30am-9pm
Thurs & Fri 11:30am-10pm
Sat  12pm-10pm
Sun  12pm-9pm

The Counter on Urbanspoon

*EDIT*: As of early 2011, The Counter has been closed for business.
happy eating!


  1. Ive always wanted to try this place :( but its soo farrr across the bridge :( Ive stepped along crows nest pacific highway once and that was jumping out of a cab into waqu =(

    That is one mean looking burgerrrrr making me hungry considering i only had a boring garden salad for lunch :(

  2. Looks good! I'm so hungry right now .... :-)

  3. mmm i love counter! and dude you definitely have to go back and try the milkshakes the snickers milkshake is so freaking awesome!

  4. I have never actually liked the look of fries or onion rings, but these look good!

  5. Counter burgers are so filling! Interesting, what month was this? I had a crab burger a while back and I'm surprised that don't ahve a huge amount of burgers to go through before repeating! :P

  6. Everyone is talking about the counter. Why am I always the slowest to catch the hype? lol!!!

  7. Hi Leona! Thanks for leaving a comment and please venture across the bridge again soon =) It really isn't that far...Good food is worth travelling for - I've been known to trek an hour in search of a good feed!

    Hey Campgrenada, welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment =)

    Hi chocolatesuze, thanks for dropping by! Ooohh, a Snickers milkshake sounds like a good incentive to go back =D

    Hi Gastronomy Gal! Fries are great when they're not underfried and soggy, or overfried and dry. I have a soft spot for onion rings and love it when they're made from REAL onion instead of mushed stuff that gets reformed into 'rings'. Find some good ones and see if you'll change your mind about them!

    Hi Lorraine! I don't know how people go for the larger patty options! This was August, so a few months ago - when did you have the crab burger?

    Hey Ellie, make your way to The Counter soon. The build-your-own-burger concept is quite fun!

  8. I heard that the burger + milkshake combo will probably need a reeeeeally empty stomach to fill!

  9. Oh yeah I think I could polish off quite a few of those onion strings! Hehe glad there was no fishy pong :D

  10. I've never had a custom built burger- I'd take forever to choose what to put in it! The onion strings look delicious!

  11. Hi Conor! Those onion strings are sweet, crisp and addictive finger food...esp when dipped in a creamy sauce!

    Hi Von! The possibilities are almost endless but so much fun =D


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