Friday, May 29, 2009

The Counter in Santa Monica

The Counter
2901 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica CA 90405

Richard's Take:

My Burger: Medium rare beef burger (the 1/3lb patty) on regular bun with Tillamook Cheddar, dill pickle chips, grilled onions, tomatoes, lettuce and horseradish mayo.

The Side: Half Regular French fries and half sweet potato fries. Even though this is only the second posting, Burger Patrol got started a couple of months ago. Of the six burgers I've eaten the fries at the counter were the best. That does not mean they were the best I've ever had, just that they were damn good.

Verdict: The burger was enjoyable. Nicely cooked, good bun/burger ratio, very filling - definitely the right size. However, the experience was just OK. Two things put me off... First, the seating arrangements felt very chaotic. When we got there, we were asked to put in our orders and then wait for a table. And we waited, and waited... all the while wondering if they were just going to hand us our burgers while we stood there (they didn't). The second problem I had is that the restaurant has the acoustics of a high school locker room. The Counter is the second loudest restaurant I have ever eaten in. Not a place for conversation.

This was my second visit to The Counter, and it still doesn't make my list of places that I would be a regular at.

Rosa's Take:

My Burger
: Medium rare beef burger (the 1/3lb patty) on regular bun with Tillamook Cheddar, dill pickle chips, grilled onions, tomatoes, avocado and spicy sour cream. Added some ketchup.

The Side: Half Regular French fries and half sweet potato fries. I ate all the last bits of the sweet potato fries. Great flavor, though the sauce that came with them did not contribute a thing. The red- spiced regular fries were a bit salty, but hot and crisp.

Verdict: I can only blame myself. Caramelized onions were too sweet and too many. The spicy sour cream was less exciting than I’d imagined, and not great on the burger.

But the meat was awesome -- perfectly cooked with a juicy pink center. In the end the burger tasted best when I scraped off the onions, moved the sour cream sauce aside, and went back to basics.

I’ll be back. But before the lunch rush, with my order in mind, and for a seat at the counter.

TVE's Take

My Burger: 1/3lb medium-rare patty, with baby greens, sliced carrots, boiled egg, and red onion on a regular bun. Added ketchup. The selected sauce on the side: Dijon balsamic

The Side
: regular French fries and sweet potato fries. Both types of fries were fried perfectly. Their sweet potato fries will change the minds of any hesitant sweet potato eater. YUM!

: The patty was tasty and well-cooked. The selection of free add-ons were mediocre. The premium add-ons (ie: fried egg, bacon, guacamole) are well worth the $1 extra each. There was a wide selection of sauces to choose from. I made the mistake of picking the Dijon balsamic sauce which was good but not suited as a burger sauce.

The 1/3lb size patty was plenty big enough (I didn’t finish). But for the hungry, they also offer 2/3lb and 1lb size patties. The boiled egg was a strange idea and really didn’t add to the burger. Just pay the extra $1 and get the fried egg! They were a bit skimpy with the red onions; I didn’t taste it at all.

The system to order and get a table needs to be revised. It seemed somewhat chaotic and can cause frustrations. Smaller groups (2 or less) would find a seat quicker. The price of the burger was slightly on the high side. Overall, it was a good burger but not worth the hassle of the crowd.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Library Alehouse on Main Street

Library Alehouse
2911 Main St
Santa Monica CA 90405

Richard's Take:

My Burger: Angus, medium-rare, with cheddar cheese and bacon. Added ketchup, dijon, and mayo. The burger also included the standard vegetables - tomato, a slice of red onion and a lettuce leaf.

The Side: Plain old french fries. Kind of bleh. During lunch I remarked on how difficult it must be to make good french fries, because so many places have bad ones. I would not order them again.

Verdict: This was a pretty good burger. Nicely cooked - pink and juicy inside, very nice poppy seed bun - quality stuff. The meat was well seasoned, and the whole thing was well presented.

I will give the burger one demerit because the fries sucked... and then I'll say I probably wouldn't go back because of the price. This was a $14 burger for lunch in a beer bar! This was a good burger, but not a $14 good burger.

Rosa's Take:

My Burger: Angus, medium-rare, with Stilton blue cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Added ketchup, dijon, and mayo.

The Side: Sweet potato fries. Crispy, salty, perfectly fried.

Verdict: My type of burger; very beefy patty, blue cheese was perfect salty tangy counterpoint, and (sourdough?) bun absorbed grease and condiments to achieve something just this side of disintegration. Messy eating, but memorable burger. Price puts this into Special Treat category, though.

TVE's Take:

My Burger: Angus, medium-rare, with bacon and sauteed mushrooms. Added ketchup.

The Side: Mashed potatoes. Good consistency but needed salt and pepper

Verdict: It was a great burger, perfectly cooked. The flavor of the patty was excellent. It was a good portioned patty and burger; maybe more along the lines of a dinner burger. The bun didn't distract from the rest of the burger. The provided red onion added a sweet kick! Overall, great burger but on the pricey side ($14). Great for an occasional splurge.