Cheeseburgers and mushrooms? Maybe. Cheeseburgers and brussel sprouts? Well, that’s a stretch. But the management at The Counter have something seasonal in mind for Cheeseburger Week this year.
That means a mushroom burger—a standard cheeseburger with a beef patty, cooked medium well and infused with mushrooms, garlic, panko and onion, topped with chopped lettuce, Swiss cheese, and enough mushrooms for you to start your own forest. This was served with a small container of umami, that mysterious Japanese sauce touted as a new taste, to go along with sweet, sour, salty and bitter.
That issue is better decided by more knowledgeable gastronomes than me, so let’s move on to the cheeseburger.
First off, I would never order mushrooms on a burger. Or a pizza. Manager on Duty Kevin was nice enough to leave the sliced onions out of the mix, so what I was left with was a large, solid juicy burger with the forest of mushrooms. I gently removed some of the mushrooms, because, well, you know, mushrooms.
There was still a healthy amount of them left on the scene, and fearless correspondent that I am, I dug right in. The overall flavor is meaty and woody, with just enough juice to push the beef flavor a little more.
I will admit to dipping the Cheeseburger in ketchup, surreptitiously, so as not to offend any fungi fans, and that seemed to round out the experience.
Which brings us to the brussels sprouts. Bane of children everywhere, brussels sprouts get a bad rap for a reason. They can smell kinda peculiar, and served alone, there is simply not much there. But I’ve seen quite a few chefs do some remarkable things with them, and now The Counter joins that list. The sprouts appear to be roasted, glazed, and then grilled, so they’re hot and crispy. I added a little salt. Sssh.
They’re served with a sweet Sirachi dipping sauce, which will only vaguely challenge your spicy tolerance, if you’re not someone who likes food that pushes the Scoville Scale.
The sprouts were sweet and chewy, and definitely a brand new combination of flavors for me, as they may be for you. But be adventurous.
Dinner was topped off with a Banana Split Shake, a delicious combo of bananas, strawberries, caramel, chocolate, and topped with a foothill of whipped cream.
As Counter regulars also know, you can also still build your own bountiful burger from a vast selection of patties, dressings, buns and toppings, if you’re kicking it old school, as dumb an expression as anyone ever spoke.
But, it was an evening of new tastes and flavors, and if you’re like Manager on Duty Kevin, and are addicted to mushrooms, you’ll return a few times for the mushroom burger.
And, Cheeseburger Week is off to a spicy and woodsy start. Stay hungry, my friends.
The Counter, 140 Shoppers Lane, Pasadena, 91101. (626) 440-1008. www.thecounter.com.