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