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The Counter, 20 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

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UPDATED AFTER THIRD VISIT: See updates in red below.

What: Build-your-own burger diner newly arrived from the USA (in the location formerly occupied by Tosca and then by Atlantic/Cafe 20, but now bearing little resemblance to either of those apart from retaining the doorknob and the table in the bay window).

Prices: Burgers range from regular size at €9.95 to extra big at €14.95. With vegetables usually being a lot cheaper than meat it seems strange that the veggie patty is the same price as a meat patty. We each struggled to finish the regular size (see photo). Fries are not included in this price. Crispy onion strings €6.95, side salad €4.25, French fries €3.95 (large) or €1.50 (small), desserts €4.95 and lots more.

Vegetarian menu: A clipboard is brought to your table and you select which items you would like to have on your burger. There is a veggie patty, which is vegan, and there are many vegan and vegetarian toppings from which to choose: roasted green chilis, dried cranberries, grilled onion, tomatoes, etc. (see photo below for all of the choices). Salads, grilled vegetables and various fries are available as side orders. The manager confirmed that the veggie patty and all the veggie ingredients, in particular, the grilled onions, are all cooked on a pan separate from the meat (in contrast to Eddie Rocket’s, as I understand it).

Drinks: Beers, wines, soft drinks, non-alcoholic beer, sparkling water and more.

Service: Very friendly and helpful, although it was a bit bizarre that the waitress asked if we wanted dessert while we were still eating the main course. A second waitress tried to take away an unfinished drink to make space for the fries. I imagine that these minor faults are a result of the place being only newly opened. The overall impression given is of very attentive and pleasant service. UPDATED 29.01.2011: Very disappointed with service today. The waitress offered us the worst table in the restaurant (wedged between two occupied tables despite there being many free tables), which we refused. We ordered the vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich and a huge ham sandwich was brought to the table.

Comfortable? The benches and chairs were adequate. The table didn’t wobble, but given that the portions are so big it was a little too small for comfort. The music is too loud; the colour scheme isn’t, and is, in fact, quite easy on the eye. They also really need to turn up the heating. It was really cold one of the times we dined here.

Was the food good? In my opinion the veggie burgers here are superior to those of Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The quality of the ingredients seemed to be quite high. The avocado was well-ripened, the onions well caramelised, the tomato firm. It’s good that the sauces are in ramekins on the side. My only complaint would be that the veggie patty was overdone for my liking — lots of black bits. The onion strings were disappointing. The fries were very thin. I would like to see chips (of the sort from a local chipper) appear on the menu. The portions are ridiculously huge (it’s really difficult to imagine eating either of the larger burgers with all the dressings). However, in general, I would say that the food is quite tasty. UPDATED 29.01.2011: The veggie burger was good again today, but the grilled cheese sandwich was awful. Firstly, it appeared in the form of a ham sandwich. The “grilled cheese sandwich” cannot be recommended to anybody who has ever enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwhich, nor can it ever be recommended to anybody who has ever enjoyed a toasted cheese sandwich. There is no evidence here that the chef has any idea about how to make either.

Toilets: Downstairs. Very spacious and clean. In fact, they rate among the cleanest toilets that I have encountered in the city centre. The ladies cubicle lacked a hook for coats and handbags, though.

My advice to the chef: Is it necessary to char the veggie patty so much? And can you please insist on delivery of those battered pickles?

My advice to the manager: Please turn the music down and heating up.

My advice to potential diners: You need to tick boxes on the menu to indicate your choices so bring your own pencil/pen unless you don’t mind were the provided pencils have been (I witnessed other diners chewing on the provided pencils).

Overall: It might seem pricey for what amounts to a burger and fries, but it’s fun and the burger is far superior to nearby burgers. Dublin Reviewer will happily return.

Click on photos to increase size.

Veggie patty with my choice of toppings

Veggie patty with my choice of toppings

Onion strings and fries "fifty-fifty" (half portion of each)

Onion strings and fries "fifty-fifty" (half portion of each)

The Counter menu

The Counter menu

Part of the menu

Part of the menu

Click on locations below for more vegetarian reviews.


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