SOBE Wine & Food '09: Previewing The Counter Burger

The biggest event of the South Beach Wine and Food Fest — which starts next week — is hands down the Burger Bash. To get everyone appropriately pumped for this year's event, Eater NY has been gradually interviewing the top contenders. But this year, Los Angeles has a pony in the race too, so we thought we'd chat with Ken Brown on the matter of the burger competition:

Burger Maker: Ken Brown, The Counter.

Why did you decide to join the Burger Bash this year? It is my first time. We decided to do it because we're in good company, and we consider ourselves a leader in the industry and we want to throw our hat in the ring.

And what's the strategy? Our strategy is not unlike our strategy every day in the restaurant—focus on good quality products.

But are you ready to feed so many people? Production is what my personal strength. What are we feeding 5,000? I've done 12 - 15,000 before no problem.

The Counter is known for its numerous varieties of burgers. How do you translate that to a contest where you have to make so many identical ones? We put the creative heads together and came up with a burger with elements that we think are going to complement each other. We've got so many choices, so we put the most popular choices together and decided this is what's going to hit.

So what are you serving? Mini burgers on a Hawaiian roll topped with Gruyere, mushrooms, and fried onion strings, served with garlic aioli.

What's the meat makeup? I can't tell you. It's proprietary, and it's a special blend we're doing just for this event.

Any accompaniments? We'll be doing our signature starters: fried pickle chips.

Who will be present the biggest challenge? Who are you worried about out there? Ourselves. The reality is it's our first time in. We're newbies and we haven't been able to try everything out.

Favorite burger that isn't your own? You know, I like different places for different kinds of burgers. So it'd be tough for me to say there's one. I don't get a chance to eat out that much. After the event I'll really be able to answer that question.

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