the counter, palo alto
It’s Singapore week in the Bay Area! Lots of SG friends passing through which means lots of meals to be had and lots of gossip to be shared.
Vinny arrived first so I picked him up fresh from the many-houred flight and took him to a burger joint. Hello, we’re in America. Everyone gets a burger on arrival. He’s a big In-n-Out fan but he has a whole week plus to satisfy those cravings. Instead, we tried out The Counter where a sorta awkward but nice enough waiter shuffled us along in our burger journey.
The Counter is one of those “build yourself a burger” places. They have the usual suspects (onions, pickle chips, tomatoes) alongside appropriately frou-frou ingredients like soft ripened brie and dried cranberries. Between you and me I don’t know if I need these in a burger but hey no judgment if you’re into that.
We shared a fifty fifty plate of sweet potato fries and onion strings. It came with a trio of sauces none of which were identified my best guess is bbq, some aoili (what is up with all of the vowels in that word), and something ranch-like.
These were good but really extremely oily. Like every bite I had was followed by a squeeze of the napkin and an oil stain of massive proportions. Everyone on Yelp is talking about the sweet potato fries and I think they’re good but not necessarily remarkable.
I picked a veggie patty of the smallest size (1/3 lb – I had to do rough kilogram conversions for our metric-loving visitor) on a pretzel bun with yellow American cheese and Bermuda red onions, jalapenos (I’m on a spicy kick), lettuce (a blend, if that makes a difference), and tomatoes.
I’m not sure if the onion ring in the honey mustard sauce was on purpose or not. Ordering veggie burgers is always a risk since you never know what kind of crazy herbs and flavors they’re going to squeeze in there. Luckily, this veggie patty was very nice. It had the heft of eating meat with enough flavor to make you happy but not making everything you’re adding to the burger taste strange. If you’re wondering, it seems to be made mostly of potato.
I also really liked the pretzel bun. Soft with some chew it’s only downfall was the incredible amts of butter they slathered on.
I’m not going to a place like The Counter for a healthy meal but I thought they could dial back a bit on the butter and oil and still serve tasty food.
Two burgers, the fifty-fifty plate, one soda, including tip was $34. My brothers would probably love this place but I probably wouldn’t venture back on my own.
The Counter: 369 California Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94306