My wife and I returned to The Counter in Santa Monica last night. We hadnt been there in about a year. On that visit, the service was really slow and unfriendly, but the food was really good. On this visit, the service was painfully slow/inattentive, a bit friendlier, and the food was mediocre at best. Frankly, the place seemed to be running on reputation because the food I saw on other plates was clearly not top notch. The guys next to me ordered sweet potato fries that were tired and their waiter forgot to deliver their fried dill pickle chips until after dinner, at which point in time the fried pickles had been sitting on the ready-to-serve counter for 20 minutes.
What was the problem with the food? I ordered a beef burger with lots of condiments and mixed greens. The greens were not fresh and had not been seasoned at all, which made for a pretty bitter bowl of greens. Nobody asked how I wanted my burger cooked and it came out medium to medium well not my idea of a good burger. I dont eat burgers all that often (in my futile attempts to stay smaller than the Goodyear blimp), so when I actually eat a burger, I like to get it rare or medium rare. If Im going to splurge, theres no point in eating a charcoal briquette. Thats what I did last night. There was barely a slice of cheese on top of my charcoal briquette and the caramelized onion marmalade tasted like the stainless steel refrigerator that it had been sitting in for the past year. My wifes burger was not much better skimpy on the cheese, dry, and not-so-fresh ingredients.
The banana shake we ordered was not too bad.
I believe this experience officially settles any disputes over the best hamburger on the Westside. My wife has conceded to my argument that Fathers Office has the best burger. We will not be going back to The Counter.