Chain restaurants usually mean sacrificing choice for consistency, e.g., getting pickles on your burger even when you ordered a milkshake. Get fat your way, at the Counter.
Opening today in the Marina, the new Counter's almost identical to its Santa Monica counterpart: a sleek bartop, white tables, and gourmet burgers with over 70 customizable options listed on a mark-it-yourself menu, just like with sushi, except men with knives don't shout at you when you enter. Choices include everything from patty type (beef/turkey/veggie/grilled chicken), to patty girth (1/3lb, 2/3lb, 1lb), to cheeses (Danish blue cheese/horseradish cheddar/sharp provolone etc), to toppings and sauces as standard as red onions/mixed baby greens and as outlandish as peanut sauce/dried cranberries, just in case you're planning Thanksgiving in Thailand. Sides include deep-fried pickle chips and chili-cheese fries, plus a "milkshake of the month", August's being a chocolate/marshmallow/graham cracker concoction called the "S'more Shake" -- jokingly request "s'more s'more", and the clerk will seriously request an additional $4.95.