Bison: It’s what’s for dinner. (Or lunch, at The Counter.)

Stop #5 on the food tour during our weekend in Pasadena came as a recommendation from a local. We walked up to front door of The Counter around 12:45 p.m. on Saturday; like everywhere else we visited, the place was packed.

I thought it might be a southern California thing, but The Counter an international franchise. It’s rare for me to find a burger at a restaurant (especially a chain!) that rivals something I can make at home, but I really enjoyed our meal. I also enjoyed the “build a burger” experience, though another patron told us it’s even better at the Santa Monica location, where you can watch the construction (thus the “counter”).

Pictured above is what Kim ordered: The Counter Burger. The onion crisps were overkill, but the burger was tasty.

I ordered a bison burger (bison was the market special – it’s not normally on the menu) with smoked gouda, fresh greens, red onion and steak sauce. The burger was cooked a perfect medium, at the recommendation of our server, and had excellent flavor. Actually, I was quite impressed with how little seasoning was used, even with the steak sauce; it speaks highly of the meat quality.

Sweet potato fries. Hard to screw these up.

Each menu comes with a pencil to mark meat, topping and bread selections.

Action shot.

Crisp, clean. We sat out on the patio to soak in the weather.

Random story: I couldn’t help but watch this woman with her labradoodle – she was struggling to keep him from jumping on everyone that walked by.

16 Responses to “Bison: It’s what’s for dinner. (Or lunch, at The Counter.)”

  1. Nicole
    March 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    I’ve read about The Counter, but have never actually been to one. Looks great!

    • james
      March 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      If you’re down that way anytime soon, it really was a good burger!

  2. Tari
    March 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    This looks very tasty. But, I admit, I clicked on the link because of the word “bison.” I was saddened to find that it is not in Fresno. Sigh. Someday!

    • james
      March 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      Sorry, Tari! I don’t know of anywhere locally that serves it, though I bet Chef’s Helper can get it.

      • Tari
        March 16, 2011 at 12:31 am #

        I’m not sure what Chef’s Helper is? I buy bison at WF sometimes to make my own burgers. I just wish we had a good burger joint that served it, too.

        • james
          March 16, 2011 at 5:49 am #

          Hmm, looks like their site is no longer up – I wonder if Daniel’s still in business. Chef’s Helper was/is a food purveyor for area restaurants, and they carried specialty meats like rabbit for Parma. They had plans to open up to more of the public a couple years back.

          • Tari
            March 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

            Oooh, sounds like a great site. I would have liked that. I’m always looking for different meats and often can’t find them. Did I tell you that we were gifted with a shank of venison recently? It was a tough cut, so we’ve mainly been braising it. Guinness braising that is :- )

          • james
            March 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

            Awesome! That’s a nice gift 🙂

            If you can cut off a 3 pound roast, slow cook it over vegetables with wine, and it’ll eventually fall apart – it may take several hours, so you’ll want to make sure it’s sealed well to preserve the liquid.

          • Chris S.
            March 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

            They are still in business… If you want we can order it for you.

  3. Anna
    March 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    LOVE bison burgers!

    • james
      March 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Have you had one locally, Anna?

      Also, thanks for stopping by!

      • Anna
        March 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

        It’s in Fresno County, but a bit of a drive: Mono Hot Springs River Rock Cafe, they serve up great corned buffalo and buffalo burgers. Visited last June and wrote about it here:

        P.S. I’m liking the blog!

        • james
          March 17, 2011 at 5:53 am #

          Thanks Anna. That corned buffalo sounds really intriguing – I may have to take a day trip up there. Mono Hot Springs is still on my to-visit list.

  4. boogie
    March 17, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    I’ve been wanting to try (and find) a Bison burger. the smoked Gouda sounds delish with it

    • james
      March 17, 2011 at 5:52 am #

      It was a great combo, Boogie – but credit goes to The Counter for suggesting it 🙂

  5. Chris S.
    March 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    Hit it every time we are at Disneyland… Great place.

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