By Braddah Lance
It's funny how a little indecision led us to da next burger joint.
Da Wife and I had da classic "wea you like eat?" talk/fight. We was driving around town and couldn't decide wea - or even wat - we wanted to eat. Da Ward area was packed and so we headed towards Ala Moana on da freeway but for watevah reason decided to go straight and ended up at Kahala Mall.
We wanted to try someplace new for us and low and behold, we ended up The Counter.
If you've nevah been to The Counter, you're given a "checklist" to build your "customized burger" along with a menu of pre-assembled burgers and classic sides for a burger joint.
Build your own burger time!
I was trippin' out wen I saw a particular topping.... can you spock 'em out?
Da Keiki had da Grilled Cheese Kids Meal (comes with fries only) and I gotta say, was pretty ono. Da bread was buttery soft and fluffy and they nevah skimp on da cheese. Da pic makes it look like an "average" size sandwich but da bread was thick so it ends up being filling for any keiki.
It was a toss up as to wat kine of fries we wanted: sweet potato fries, parmesan fries or da chili fries. Hint hint: They have a menu option called da "Fifty-Fifty" which gives you da option to get two choices of fries in a single full order. Our server recognized our dilemma and while da menu "Fifty-Fifty" didn't say, he said they can fifty-fifty our fries combo so we ended up with sweet potato and parmesan.
Since I heard about da sweet potato fries, I had to try dat one and while it was "sweet" it turned out to be tasty as well. I can't say it went along with my burger but if you enjoy contrasting tastes, then it would be a good choice.
Da parmesan fries is winnahs! I gotta warn you though dat it is fairly rich tasting and I was skeptical about it being mixed with rosemary and garlic aioli but wat a great mixture of ingrediments.
Da fries are cut on da smaller side so for me, I needed to eat 'em with a fork.... unless you stay on da kine diet wea you trying to slow down your eating.
Da Wife had da 1/3lb beef burger with pepperjack cheese, organic mixed greens, tomato, spicy pepperocini's, sauteed mushrooms and da chipotle aioli (I tink) on multigrain bread. I totally fo'got to ask her for sample so I cannot say how da buggah wen taste.
I stepped it up a notch and really wanted to try something different so I forked ovah da additional $4.25 for an organic bison burger! I topped dat off with pepperjack cheese, organic mixed greens, tomato, fresh jalepenos, sauteed onions, applewood bacon and country buttermilk ranch on multigrain bread.
There are choke options to choose from and you're allowed four free toppings, a sauce and bread. You can add more for an additional cost as well as ordering a premuim topping for $1.25 per topping as well. It's pretty neat dat you can make it a bowl or salad too if a burger isn't your passion.
Da bison burger.... well, let me just say dat it isn't worth da additional $4.25. Da only difference I could tell, between any "regular" burger, is dat it was more jucier - not more flavorful - just more jucier. I guess it was a little leaner than beef but I honestly could not tell a taste difference. They also cook your burger to your liking as well.
Da toppings were all fresh and tasty but I was disappointed dat their bread of the day, which was King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread, was sold out. We did have a semi-late lunch and they were hellah busy so we snooze, we lose. I didnt' care for da country buttermilk as it was runny like watah instead of on da thicker, creamier side as I am accustomed to.
In hind sight, I would have choose totally different unique toppings only cause I should have realized dat we wouldn't be returning anytime soon as we don't frequent da Kahala area. Plus, aftah paying for da bill, it was more of a one time thing instead of an occasional thing.
Naturally, last night I saw online dat they accepted da ID Card (wea establishments offer discounts or freebies for dining in) and I totally didn't even realize it! In fact, I had it in my pocket at dat time and carry it around in da slight chance we might be going to a place dat accepts it but like a lolo, nevah even bother to check and we ended up losing a free appetizer/starter!
Wassup Wit Dat!
I no get "invited" to sample these places. I no get reimbursed for meals eaten. I no get asked/told by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser to check these places out so wat you get is a legit, straight up review from a local braddah who loves ono kine kanack grindz as much as he loves his beer.
So hea's da breakdown:
Four Shakas and an Au'right!
For da size of da location, I gotta give it props for maximizing da square footage and still keeping a spaced out feel. It still has a "new" feel to it and da decor is contemporary and very easy to enjoy your meal in. They have a FULLY stacked bar with two tv's so if there's nothing to talk about, ESPN should be on. Da staff was very friendly and helpful and even provided Da Keiki with crayons and coloring paper.
Three Shakas and a Bumbye
Same like da oddah burger review, unless you ordering a one pounder, no expect to kanack aftah a single meal. I thought da burger and bread was slightly on da smaller side and I'm only talking by da way I can carry it in my hand. There's no way you would kanack unless you ordered anoddah side, a shake and possibly dessert but da idea of building your own burger was fun especially with da great choices they offered. Da Three Shaka's for kanack's is only cause you wouldn't want to eat anything else for awhile aftah wat you paid for your current meal.
Four Shakas and an Au'right!
The Counter in Kahala Mall is worth checking out if you want a unique experience and a burger wea you really get to make (choose) to your specific liking. I don't have a Three and a Half Shaka rating so I bumped it up to Four Shaka's.
It definitely could/would be a nice date meal wea it is a comfortable place to eat, talk and relax - plus get local kine beer too if you're bombing da date.
Da toppings were as fresh as can be, da bread was excellent and da (bison) burger was a tad bettah than average in taste but again, it was very juicy so you ain't going to eat a dry burger unless you order it well done but then again, I can't say for certain as I don't order it well done. Plus they state da animals are humanely raised and handled if you look for dat kine stuff.