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No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

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Friday, January 23, 2015

THE COUNTER (don't think they'll be around very long)

Where: 
The Counter
374 Route 3 West

Clifton NJ 07014




What: 
Build Your Own Burger



Build: 
I chose the half pound beef burger with smoked Gouda, Thousand Island dressing, scallions, dill pickle chips, on the Hawaiian bun.


Comments: 
I've been wanting to try The Counter for quite a long time now, and a few weekends ago on a rare occasion when my wife was in the mood for a burger, we tried it out. 
Our first impression walking into The Counter was that it had a very ZinBurger-esque feel to it. So much so in fact that it looks as though there could be an affiliation between the two. Both have trendy fixtures and finishes, both serve alcohol, both have a very young wait staff and both have burgers that are "just okay". 

Once seated and perusing the menu I asked my wife what was missing in this place. She looked around and then asked me "what"? I said "the absolute absence of any food aroma whatsoever" - she agreed.  I told her that if we were to close our eyes we wouldn't be able to tell if we were in a burger joint or a department store. Strange.

If you turned your nose up at what I chose for toppings on my burger, it's what I felt like eating, so deal. And after our waitress's suggestion for me to choose the Hawaiian bun, my anticipation was growing thinking the sweetness of the bun would contrast with the smoked Gouda nicely. However, a few minutes later our waitress returned to our table and apologized to me saying that they were out of the Hawaiian buns - Strike one.

I ordered my burger medium using the cool chalk drawings on the blackboard which depicted burger temperatures by using cows colored from red to pink to black. Our food took a solid 30 minutes to serve which was very annoying - Strike two. When I cut my burger in half for an autopsy photo, it was quite well done. I tried it, took 2 bites, but had to send it back - that was Strike three (and I hadn't eaten yet).

 They brought me another burger a few minutes later (I guess they really can cook a burger in 5 minutes instead of 30). This time the temperature was okay, just okay. The burger was mostly pink inside, (see photos) but strangely, there was an unevenness to the meat. The edges were more pink than the middle. In any event, the meat had a mushy texture which is repulsive to me, it was as if it were frozen then undercooked on a luke warm grill.

I just don't get it, all this designing, building, style, hype, advertising, for what? So you can make a mediocre burger? I'm sorry, but if you're jumping into today's incredibly tough burger market, you've got to be doing something different and better than everyone else. There has to be at least one stand-out feature that no one else is doing. The Counter will not be around long in NJ.  

This burger gets a 6/10 on the BC rating scale.

Some of the photos below are of my wife's sandwich, "The Melt Down" which was actually very very good. They'd do better as a sandwich joint that also serves burgers rather than vice versa. 

And don't let my photos of the french fries fool you, they were served cold.



























The Melt Down was actually very good.









These would have been great if they were hot...





























Second Attempt...




Temperature was better, but the meat had a very mushy texture, almost tasted waterlogged.












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