Burger Bewilderment (of the Best Kind) at The Counter

Have a blind date coming up? Need to eat dinner with someone who's really bad at making small talk? Eliminate that awkward initial silence by agonizing over the list of burger options at The Counter!

I know this sounds like an unusual endorsement for a restaurant -- especially one that I really like -- but ordering your burger here is no small feat. Prepare to spend at least a few quiet minutes pouring over the list of dozens of different options and toppings (more than 60 at last count) for your burger before placing your order.

Personally, this can be a bit bewildering if you find yourself liking everything on the list: "Does grilled pineapple go with tzatziki sauce and guacamole? No? WELL, IT DOES NOW." You can easily end up with an inedible burger, but I'm pleased to report this has only happened to me once over the course of many visits to the Washington Avenue burger joint.

More clever types than I will likely end up crafting custom creations that rival some of the fancier restaurants in town: Try the apricot sauce with Brie and bacon or the peanut sauce with shredded carrots and cucumbers, and you'll see that The Counter is no ordinary burger barn.

Of course, if you find yourself completely flummoxed, there is a standard array of on-menu burgers to choose from, like the Old School or -- my favorite - The Counter burger with Provolone, onion strings and sauteed mushrooms. You can even get your burger in a bowl, which is nice if you're one of those poor schmucks on a low-carb diet.

If you're not, however, The Counter has plenty of other treats to tempt you: malts and shakes, freshly made behind the bar; an excellent selection of beer and wine; and fried pickle chips that are amazing when dipped in that apricot sauce. Trust me.

Read more about our ongoing love affair with The Counter in this week's cafe review and check out our behind-the-scenes photos from its kitchen to see how other patrons were having their burgers custom-built last week, then tell us: What would you put on your burger from the vast list of toppings?

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Katharine Shilcutt