May 7, 2024 - Food and Drink

Eat dishes inspired by your favorite drive-thrus at Counter- in Wesley Heights

hand holding container with face of chef directly behind it

Keep scrolling for a better look at C-FC (Counter- Fried Chicken). Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Drive-thru-inspired favorites, like Crunch Wrap Supremes and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, are on the menu at Counter- in Wesley Heights.

Why it matters: Counter- is an upscale restaurant led by James Beard-nominated chef-owner Sam Hart with a price point to match. The last thing you'd expect to eat there is a Filet-o'-Fish. Except, the innovative menu is anything but what you'd expect.

Context: The drive-thru menu, which is available through May 18, offers ten courses inspired by classic drive-thrus like Taco Bell, McDonald's and Starbucks, to name a few.

The menu is double-sided and comes with crayons for coloring. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

What to expect: The Counter- experience (and it is an experience) starts once you walk in the door. You're escorted into a room with a screen playing old fast-food commercials, giving you a preview of what you're about to eat. There, you're given your first course: a reimagined Crunchwrap Supreme topped with caviar.

two small bites of food with caviar on top
The "crunchwrap supreme" — caviar, masa, sour cream and scallion. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Counter- recently changed its format, and although its seasonally changing tasting menus essentially guarantee a unique experience with each visit, its new format is more interactive.

  • Now, diners experience their dinner in three phases and are ushered through multiple rooms in the restaurant to complement the theme's storyline.

Go deeper: Get ready for Counter- 3.0. Charlotte's popular tasting menu restaurant is switching it up

a large fry with caviar on top
The big a-- french fry. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Try this: For an additional fee of $95, you can add the caviar enhancement, which includes an extra course: a scoop of caviar atop a "big a-- french fry."

  • For an additional $75, you can add the truffle enhancement, in which Hart will shave black truffle atop several of your courses.

Sip on this: There's an option to add a spirit-free pairing with each course for $95. The third course, a snapper dish that plays on McDonald's Filet-o'-Fish pairs with a mocktail of lemon-lime simple syrup, lemon zest and sparkling tea that emulates the crispiness of a Micky D's Sprite.

  • A global wine pairing option is available for an extra $105.
  • If you're a wine aficionado, you might be more apt to try the "absurd pairing" for an additional $525. With this pairing, the in-house sommelier will pair rare, vintage and iconic wines with your courses.
Counter-'s filet-o-fish: Catfish, American cheese, tartar and brioche. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Between the lines: From the interactive menu to the curated playlist, every element in the production is intentional.

Here, "Coffee" by Miguel plays while the team serves this trout dish with flavors found in the Starbucks PSL. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Best bites: We can't skip mentioning the CFC (Counter Fried Chicken). The chicken thigh was one of my favorite bites, but the creativity in the presentation is the true winner here.

Yes that's a portrait of chef Sam in the style of KFC's Colonel Sanders logo. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

What's next: Counter- has a couple of themed dinners planned this Spring and Summer, including a tribute to the divas of the '70s, '80s and '90s (Cher, Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston to name a few) from May 22-June 1.

  • After that, Counter- will run a Jay-Z-inspired tasting menu called The Blueprint June 12-22.

Go deeper: 5 things to know before eating at Counter-


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