The Counter Burger, Crows Nest (and the 450g burger)

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*Counter Burger is now closed*

If you're in any doubt that the American chain The Counter burger has come to town, take a peek at the menu. For the first thing that my eyes rest upon is a Peanut Butter Shake. If that isn't American I don't know what is. Today we're having lunch at The Counter burger, where you can get a fully customised burger that your heart or tastebud desires. I was first tipped off about The Counter by an NQN reader-got to love tips!

It's table service here and when you sit down, you get a clipboard with a 5 part checklist of items that you can choose from starting from the patty (Beef, Turkey, Chicken or Vegetarian), then a cheese (from a list of 10 including horseradish cheddar, Gruyere and Danish blue), then some extra toppings (from a list of 18 regular toppings and a list of 10 premium toppings) and then a sauce (from a list of 17) and then a bun (hamburger bun, English muffin or wholemeal). This gives us a potential for 312,120 plus burgers! For low carb eaters, there is also the breadless option where instead of having it in a bun, you're given the patty and toppings on top of salad leaves. We are literally staring at the menu, pencil paused in our hand, for about 10 minutes. For the terminally indecisive there are burger combinations already laid out.

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Surfboard decorations

We are not sure what size patty we'd like so we look at the table next to us. Theirs looks like a fat juicy burger patty and they tell us it's a 150g one and _very _filling (in fact they leave some of it behind). My husband rises to the challenge and chooses a 300g burger, despite being egged on to try the 450gram burger by the other customer who wants to see how big it would be. I am relieved to see that the item that I saw on the website, the Maryland Crab Cake burger is indeed the burger of the month here as I had presumed that it was a US only burger but everything there seemed to marry up exactly with the other locations.

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Oooh Angus beef!

We ask the waitress about the shakes, apparently the peanut butter one is rather large and rich and she suggests sharing it and she also suggests combining a peanut butter and chocolate shake with malt which delights me as I am a big Reese's peanut butter cup fan. We also share an order of 50 50 fries with half onion strings and half sweet potato chips.

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Peanut butter and chocolate malted shake $5 (one of the two glasses)

The peanut butter and chocolate malted shake is surprisingly delicious. I had expected something cloying and thick and stuck to the roof of my mouth but this is perfectly peanut buttery and smoothly liquidy. It is rich though so sharing it isn't a bad idea.

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50 50 fries with half onion strings and half sweet potato chips $5.50

The 50 50 fries with half onion strings and half sweet potato chips are huge. In fact I wonder if they've accidentally doubled our serve but no. It's served with a sweet BBQ sauce, garlic aioli and thousand island dressing sauces (all fabulous, particularly the Sweet BBQ which is made on the premises-we asked as we wanted to buy some). However there is one drawback. After getting through the vast amount of fries, you may find your hunger rapidly diminishing.

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Maryland Style Crab Cake burger$15.95

My Maryland Style Crab Cake burger comes topped with Bacon Cole Slaw on a Bed of Lettuce Blend, with Tomatoes and Bermuda Red Onion on a Hamburger Bun with Lemon Basil Tartar Sauce. The bun is soft and fresh and perfectly toasted (a strange thing to notice but I did notice it) and the aroma of crab is so prevalent as soon as it is set down in front of me. For crab lovers like me, this is delicious and I enjoy every bite.  The lemon basil tartar is fragrantly lemony and all sauces are served on the side so you can add as little or as much as you want.

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300g Turkey burger with black olives, sweet red hot peppers, grilled onions and dill chips with Mexican Caesar sauce $14.50 + Country Buttermilk ranch sauce $0.50.

My husband's burger is a ground turkey burger (chosen because Turkey is a healthy low fat meat and because we don't often see Turkey on the menu here). He chooses olives, hot sweet peppers, dill chips and grilled onions to go on top of it along with a Mexican Caesar and a Country Buttermilk ranch sauce. The Country buttermilk ranch isn't bad at all but the Mexican Caesar is fantastic, bursting through with Mexican spices. The burger itself is enormous with a generous serve of the additions.

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Another look at the burger under the patty

I can't finish my burger, between the fries, the shake, the massive burger and my jeans I can't fit another bite in. In fact we go for the rest of the day without being hungry at all. But the thought does creep into my mind...how would the 450gram burger go?

In fact the thought won't leave my damn food obsessed head all day and night, even while watching "He's Just Not Into You" that evening (not a good movie, I was Just Not Into It), all I could think about was a) this movie is really, really boring and predictable and b)how would that 450gram burger go? So that night, I told my friend M all about it, my husband didn't eat a thing for dinner or breakfast the next morning, and at 12noon the next day we were back, sitting with M and her boys, who I knew would love the whole concept. My husband was indeed ready for the 450gram burger now.

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Making the Apple pie shake

As we're late, the boys have already started the task of choosing their own burger. M is going for the Maryland Crab Cake style burger and I see their checklist. Uh oh, they've selected the 300gram size burger. I tell them that despite their hungry eyes, they won't be able to finish one, especially since all S can talk about is the Apple Pie shake. "They put a real Apple Pie in it!" he shrieks happy. We confirm this with the waiter who says that yes indeed they put a piece of the Apple Pie, the same Apple Pie that they serve on the dessert menu, in the shake. We get a photograph of him making it too.

I'm going for a burger in a bowl, aka a salad, which is actually exactly how I like to eat: protein and salad. Hubby gears up mentally for the 450gram burger and we also order a side of french fries with chili beef and cheese.

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Apple Pie Malted Shake $5

The Apple pie shake arrives in a tall glass and the boys can hardly wait to take to the straws but the best way of approach with it is actually with a spoon. It's thick and with pieces of apples and pie crust, it can't make its way up the straw so we devour this with spoons. And it is indeed so, so, so damn good.

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Beef Chili cheese fries $6.50

The fries arrive and they are spicy with the beef chili, sour cream and diced spanish onion. They're gooey and good but the french fries aren't particularly crispy due to the chili beef on top (much like Nachos chips not being crisp under all of the topping). Out of the two, I have to say that I still have a stronger hankering for the 5050 onion strings and sweet potato chips.

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S's burger: 150g beef, tomato, dill pickles, lettuce, grilled onion, American cheese and thousnad island dressing $12.50 + avocado $1.50 extra

I try some of S's burger and the beef is delicious.

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I's burger: 150g beef burger with carrot strings, beetroot, onion and BBQ sauce $12.50 + bacon $1.50 extra

I is chuffed with his burger and boldly declares that he could have another. We stop him, of course.

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_Mr NQN's burger: 450g turkey burger with grilled pineapple, boiled eggs, sweet hot red pepper and black olives with horseradish cheddar and Mexican Caesar dressing $17.50

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The burger that my husband saved his stomach for is needless to say, huge. He takes a deep breath before plunging in....

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I take a bite. It is, despite the odd combination of our choosing, very good indeed. He's impressed that for the price of that burger, it is all he needs to eat in a day and I imagine he has boy fantasies of living on a burger a day. He does wish that the bun was bigger and as the patty is bigger than the bun, the amount of extras doesn't match the patty size (16.5cms wide and about 2cms thick, yes we measured).

And of course nothing is worth doing unless a comparison test is made between that of a 150g burger and a 450g burger.

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Visual comparison of 150g burger vs 450g burger

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My burger in a bowl 150g chicken with grilled pineapple, dill pickles, corn and pepper relish, Danish blue cheese and a caramelised onion marmalade $12.50

My burger in a bowl is deceptively large and filling. I get a very generous serve of Danish blue on this and the caramelised onion marmalade is delicious when scattered throughout the salad.

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And stuffed to the brim what else do two brothers have to do but play slap fights with each other while I contemplate my next burger combination.

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The Counter

118 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, NSW

Tel: +61 (02) 9436-2700

Open 7 days

Tuesday-Wednesday 5pm-9pm

Thursday 12pm-9pm

Friday-Saturday 12pm-10pm

Sunday 12pm-9pm

*Counter Burger is now closed*

http://www.thecounterburger.com/crowsnest/

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