369 California Ave (Ash)
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Another trendy fancy burger place… The Counter opened in 2006 and is another fancy casual restaurant located in the Palo Alto, California Avenue shopping district. They have locations in CA, CO, GA, NC, and TX with many more coming soon. We revisited in March 2011 at the brand-new San Mateo location, click next door to Trader Joes. Loud music greeted us as we entered the place along with some flat screen TVs at the counter.
At The Counter, you get to build your burger. Select a patty, up to 4 free toppings, optional premium toppings, choose a cheese, sauce on the side, and a bun. This is almost identical to Custom Burger in San Francisco.
You can get certified humane turkey, 100% natural ground angus beef, certified humane raised & handled, never frozen, hormone & antibiotic free, certified humane chicken, and veggie burgers. You can order takeout or have a full serviced sit down meal at The Counter. They serve beer and cocktails, a major plus!
The Counter has very modern decor with a unique bar where they serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks. Lots of college kids (Stanford is nearby) and families were eating. The San Mateo location has lines in the evenings. Head straight to the counter in the middle to avoid lines.
Menu pics: (Click to zoom in on any picture)
Build a Burger Menu
The Counter’s menu had tons of customization options for burger fans.Vegetarians and offer the veggie burgers or one of their sick salads. They also have three sandwich options. We love their build your own cocktail options! We’ve never seen one of those before.
Burger with onion strings
The 1/3lb Beef burger ($7.95, weight after cooking!) was pretty big, we had to smash it down, so that it would fit in your mouth. They do ask how you want the meat done and default to a slightly pink in the middle, medium rare. Ours came with very little redness but was still juicy. The Tilamook cheddar cheese tasted good. The bun was solid, although the onion bun we had one another burger was very good. The grilled onions, organic mixed greens, dill pickle chips, and tomatoes were fine. The sweet BBQ sauce was on the side and was really, really sweet as was the honey mustard. It’s a good thing they keep it on the side.
We’d rank this burger right in there with top places like Custom Burger, Pearls, Peninsula Creamery, and Mo’s. In the Peninsula, this is easily better than places like Jeffrey’s, Rave Burger, and Jack’s. Godfather’ s still has more style.
Fifty-Fifty ($4.95) French Fries and Sweet potato fries was also pretty solid. The fries were very thin and a bit salty, while the sweet potato fries were excellent. Horseradish mayo is served alongside the fries.
Smores Shake Special ($4.95) with marshmellow, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and graham crackers was good. Relatively thick and not too sweet.
Mediterranean salad ($8.95) 1/3 pound natural turkey Patty, lettuce blend, Greek feta, black olives, sliced cucumbers, spicy pepperoncinis, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce is a good option for burger haters. The turkey patty was excellent unlike most non-beef patties we tried.
French fries ($3.50) with some seasoning salt on top were of decent quality and in massive in quantity. Two people could easy share this.
Fifty-Fifty ($4.95) French Fries and Onion strings was also pretty big. The strings are very good but extremely greasy.
Kids Mini Burgers (2) ($4.95) with American cheese, pickles, and Fries were a good deal and enough to feed most kids upto 8.
Ahi burger ($12.95) was the special burger of the month and frankly looked like a pale colored patty with canned tuna in it. It did taste better than it looked, but we expected a real slice of ahi tuna. This burger was served with wasabi aoili on the side.
Fried Dill Pickle Chips ($4) with apricot dipping sauce were weird. Crispy and piping hot, but an acquired taste.
The service was fine with a young waitress trying very hard. It took about 15 minutes for the burger to arrive. They also have a kids menu.
If we wanted a good burger and were nearby, we’d definitely consider The Counter. Price are on the high side though. A burger, fries, and a soda run almost $16! There are so many customization options that almost anybody could be satisfied.
You can also down an adult beverage of your choice at the same time!
Now open at:
41 West Hillsdale Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94403
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