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Restaurants & Bars 6

The Counter for the third time

cvc | Aug 7, 200412:11 AM

I so want to like this place. It's in Santa Monica and I live in Santa Monica. It's new, cool and wants to be a serious hamburger shop. But if this past Wednesday night is any indication, it was not meant to be for us. We arrived around 7pm just in time to score one of the center window tables. Warm summer breeze, great energy. But soon the incessant Buddha Bar style music seems to clash with the family oriented Jetsons meets Johnny Rockets decor. The cliche plasma screen is a nice touch and there's a game on which makes sense. The server could not be nicer and in all fairness it's not the establishment's fault that for the second time in a row we are in the presence of yet another "hip" young family that thinks nothing of letting their two kids flap about the dining room unsupervised, bumping into other guests' chairs and screaming their lungs out. (Finally, quicker thinking patrons other than us speak to the parents as sternly as one might to the kids themselves and they leave.)

The burgers were good but pricey at $7 for the basic 1/3 pounder with a great soft bun and fresh condiments but lacked the seasoning of a Houston's or an Apple Pan. And the chile cheese fries come on wax paper and an aluminum pan and are a tad small making us long for Tommy's big boat for almost half the price. My friend also makes the trivial revelation that the chile could pass for the Bolognese sauce he had at Spumoni's on Montana the night before because both were dominated by the same cinnamony sweetness.

The do it yourself ordering sheets seem a bit prescious to us because we end up explaining the order to the server anyway. It all ends up being a bit fabricated with a half eaten burger bowl at the next table looking like the most unappetizing dish since Splichal forced meatloaf and mashed potatoes into a tacone. I guess we'll just have to wait for a table at Father's Office.

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