No one reaps glory like a conquering hero returned home, from Caesar triumphantly marching into Rome after the Gallic wars, to the Heaven's Gate cult triumphantly materializing on Hale-Bopp with 38 pairs of new Nikes. Now, celebrate the return of a conquering hamburger, with The Counter
A comfortably sterile, steel-chaired modern mess hall, Counter was founded in 2003 in Santa Monica by a DC native who wanted to "give the power back to the customer" by letting them build burgers from a list of ingredients and options representing "312,120 possible combinations", thus making the restaurant the Menudo of ground beef. After selecting patty (beef/turkey/veggie/grilled chicken) and size (1/3-, 2/3-, or whole lb), go nuts with cheese (Danish Blue, gruyére, horseradish cheddar...), toppings (jalapeños, roasted chilies, pepperoncinis), sauces (ginger soy glaze, roasted garlic aioli, carmelized onion marmalade), and bun, from traditional hamburger, to honey wheat, to an English muffin -- start your day out with those, and good luck squeezing into any nooks and crannies. If possibilities actually do make you dizzy, go for a house creation like the "Taco Turkey" (w/ jalapeno jack/spicy sour cream), the "Unique Veggie" (baby greens/red peppers/onion & dijon balsamic), or the beef/Tillamook cheddar/onion/relish "Old School" -- be the first to order by exclaiming "I'll do one!", and hopefully someone will step out with a bat and do you
In addition to over twenty wines, The Counter's got some outstanding bottled beers (Chimay Red Cap, Fullers London Porter, Abita Purple Haze), and six drafts including Brooklyn Lager, Hook and Ladder, and Yuengling Haywire Hefeweizen -- when they garnish it with an orange slice, you'll lament, "et tu, fruite?".