Knowing that my weekend trip to New York was going to be short and sweet, I made sure to squeeze as much sightseeing as I could into my visit- food-centered and otherwise. Knowing that I had tickets for a matinee and evening Broadway show on Saturday, I decided to spend my morning near Times Square exploring the magnificent New York Public Library in Bryant Park.
For my lunch destination between the library and the theater, I chose The Counter, a gourmet burger bar that promises custom-built burgers that let you pick and choose toppings, sauces, and proteins to your heart's content. In choosing The Counter, I knew I was getting fast food- but fast food that wouldn't cut corners when it came to quality.
For gluten-free diners, The Counter's menu is loaded with options. When they advertise a custom-built burger, they mean it: you can choose your protein (both the type and weight), cheese, sauce, toppings, and style of the burger (with a bun or over greens). There are meatless protein options but no vegan or dairy-free cheeses on hand. Allergy orders are noted to the kitchen, and this location has a dedicated fryer for safe fries.
If you are looking for other options beyond a custom burger, the flip side of the menu features starters, sandwiches, salads, and handcrafted burger combinations. For dairy-lovers, they also serve up a variety of milkshakes- both traditional flavors and a custom-design option.
I went the custom burger route, choosing a 1/3 lb. turkey burger on the gluten-free bun topped off with sprouts, lettuce, and tomato. I chose to add on avocado as a premium topping and decided on honey mustard for the burger's sauce. I loved the juicy burger, which had a ice grill flavor and was proportional to the bun, something that doesn't always happen with gluten-free buns. The bun was soft and held it's own without being too crumbly or dense. I loved every bite of the burger, with its layered flavors and textures- it definitely was a standard-setter!
Of course I couldn't go without ordering a side of safe sweet potato fries, and The Counter's truly are top notch. Fried perfectly to be crispy on the outside yet still soft on the inside, the fries are thick cut and absolutely irresistible. I've reviewed many a sweet potato fry in my time as a blogger, and these definitely stand apart from the rest.
With a limited amount of time to grab lunch, I am so glad I decided to stop at The Counter. The food was excellent (and safe!) and the staff proved that friendly and efficient service can be found in the heart of Times Square, even during the lunchtime rush. The Counter is definitely the place to be if you are craving the timeless combination of burger and fries, and can accommodate parties with various allergens and preferences if you are looking for a place where family and friends can all find something to eat.