Monday, September 21, 2009

The Counter - Crows Nest

The Counter

I've been raving on about this 'build it yourself' burger joint to my partner for quite some time now and was quite a bit more excited compared to my partner (who had absolutely no expectations of this place). My partner, who believes that just about everything is better in Melbourne than it is in Sydney, did not think being able to construct your own burger was a good idea - afterall, what if all the stuff you put inside taste great separately, yet completely do not complement each other? Good point partner. But I was excited anyway.

When we first got our clipboard of choices, I was excited but admittedly, quite overwhelmed. You had to choose whether you wanted a burger, or a burger in a bowl (ie. burger ingredients in a bowl... so essentially a beef or chicken salad). What type of meat you wanted (beef, chicken, turkey, vego), with number of grams of meat you wanted, the type of cheese, what toppings (up to 4 toppings are included), what type of sauce, what kind of bun... it was very much quite omgness. As my partner and I started filling out the form, an immense pressure fell on us both... it was like taking a test!!! which is the right box to tick?

the counter test

My partner succumbed under the pressure and ripped up his form, opting instead, for the 'counter burger' ($14.50). I perservered... but it was difficult. I mean, did I want mayo or horseradish mayo or peanut sauce or honey mustard or ginger soy glaze or sauce of the month...? and did I want american cheese or cheddar cheese or colby cheese or horseraddish cheddar or imported swiss....??? and so on and so on... you get the point. It was a very intense high pressure situation for someone who just cannot make decisions...

In fact, during the middle of this immensely stressful situation, the waiter came over to get our order on drinks. Having not even a glance at the drinks menu, I was like... err... coke ($4)? Only to be belittled by my partner who opted for a Chocolate malt shake with chocolate brownie pieces and icecream ($7.50), which, according to the waiter, was "an excellent choice, the best on the menu". *sighz* Luckily, as slight consolidation, I did get a HUGE coke with a juicy lemon piece... ahh... lemon coke :) AND, I did steal quite a lot of brownie pieces from my partner's drink. The shake was super sweet and malty and chocolatey. It could be improved if it was indeed a thickshake - and not merely a milkshake. Nonetheless, my partner thoroughly enjoyed his drink (and did, infact, let me slurpily consume it too).

lemon coke - $4

choc malt icecream brownie shake - $7.50

We als ordered a "Fifty-Fifty" ($6.25) - half frieds and half onion strings. This came with a watery herbed mayo (nowhere as good as herbed mayo from Grill'd), and barbeque sauce. I prefer thick cut chips, but these fries were not bad (better than Maccas) and the onion strings reminded me of the onion stacks you can get at Hogs Breath.

the 'fifty-fifty' - $6.25

So, what did I eventually choose in my burger? I went for a 150g beef burger ($13.50) in a hamburger bun with cheddar cheese, grilled pineapple, carrot strings, grilled onions, and mixed baby greens and sauced with horseraddish mayo. Not too adventurous, but I thought that the ingredients would not be too wierded out when eaten together. My partner's Counter Burger ($14.50) was likewise conservative, comprised of beef, provolone, lettuce, tomato, fried onion, sauteed mushies sauced with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. The burgers were quite huge. They should really do a "how to eat" guide. My partner shoved the top on and ate it as a whole burger (with slight difficulty) whereas I tried to be civilised and ate it with a knife and fork (and failed miserably). In retrospect, hands are the way to go I think.

My built burger - $13.50

Counter Burger - $14.50

I think that overall, burgers from Grill'd trump Counter. Grill'd burgers are much juicier and tastier (must be the herbed mayo). My partner also complained how the beef pattie was thick yet pretty much tasteless. It was angus beef... so maybe it's got less fat to make it healthier and hence, less taste and juices too? I don't know, just a guess. But in all, the service here was friendly. But I'm not sure how sold I am on the test-like format of the 'build your own burger' sheet... a bit too high stress for the weekend. kekeke... :)

Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Value for money - 7/10
Overall - 28.5/40

The Counter
118 Willoughby Road
Crows Nest
NSW 2065
tel: (02) 9436 2700

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