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Restaurants & Bars 22

The Counter in SM - first impression

igj | Dec 2, 200307:21 PM

I went to the new burger place in Santa Monica, the Counter, today. It is at Ocean Park and 29th. As was stated before, it has no outward sign (how LA) but if you go between noon and 1:15, the line out the door will be a clue you're there!

My big caveat: I'm a vegetarian, so no report on the quality of their beef, turkey or chicken burgers.

Unless you are getting counter service, you order at the register (at least for lunch). There is a form that you fill out (one from this list, one from that, etc.). A bit too much like taking a test for me...

I ordered a veggie burger with cheddar, mixed baby greens, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, grilled onions and dijon balsamic dressing. That is one cheese, 4 toppings and a sauce--the amount that is included free with every burger. I took my number and sat down. After about 8 minutes, my burger arrived.

The peppers and the dressing were served on the side...possibly because there was so much grilled onion that the burger was impossible to eat with my hands??? The burger itself was a mash of vegetables, with a heavy corn and greens taste. Not salty enough for my taste, but that is easily rectified--but also not that exciting tasting. The toppings were toppings - the grilled onions were sweet and tasty, but the peppers were not smoky from roasting and were a bit limp, nor were the greens anything to crow about, although they were fresh. The tomatoes? Well, it is December so I don't know what I was expecting - they were pretty flavorless. The dressing was sweet, but did have a noticeable and pleasant dijon kick.

Although this was not a slam dunk experience for me, I'd give the place another chance. Now that I know what the burger itself is like, I can alter my toppings/sauces accordingly.

My burger and coke came to about $8.25!

BTW - I assume the lunch lines will eventually taper off somewhat when the novelty wears thin. But the popular places here are always crowded at lunch. Maybe dinner is a better bet?

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