Our 10 Best Veggie Burgers in NYC

Categories: Marx, Our 10 Best

hillstoneburger.jpg
Rebecca Marx
Hillstone's meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy veggie burger

Ah, veggie burgers. For so long regarded as the bête noire of vegetarian cuisine, they've been slowly but surely breaking free of their Morningstar-Boca shackles, thanks to a number of restaurants that have started to treat them as real food, rather than as a token, half-assed attempt to appease killjoy vegetarians. As Lukas Volger, the author of Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, told us last year, it's not just "hippie moms" who are jumping on the bandwagon; even the Times recently saw fit to comment at length on the phenomenon. What follows are the veggie burgers we consider to be exemplars of the form. Naturally, you may disagree -- that's what the comments section is for.


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Victoria Bekiempis
Veselka's veggie wonder

10. Veselka. Odd that a Ukrainian eatery would boast a veggie burger -- no less one with avocado-wasabi mayo. But the bile-colored condiment really does dress up what seems to be a plain Gardenburger patty -- legumey, with flecks of bell pepper here and there -- and adds a little heat to an otherwise earthy dish. It's a solid pick, and the lettuce and tomato that come with it are quite fresh. It's even better with a slice of yellow American cheese. Priced at $10.75 with fries, $8 without -- the burger might not be watershed, but it definitely ranks among the best -- especially in the world of meat-heavy eateries. 144 Second Avenue, 212-228-9682

9. The V-Spot. Much as bacon tarts up many a meaty burger, its tempeh facsimile provides a smoky, crispy assist to the $8 veggie burger at this hotbed of Park Slope veganism. The patty, while good, isn't remarkable -- it's slightly better than your run-of-the-mill beans-lentil-soy hybrid. But taken as a whole, the burger succeeds as a juicy, meaty meal, minus the actual meat. As an added bonus, the vegan soy cheese has the texture and flavor of real cheddar -- no half-melted plastic to see here. 156 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-662-2275

8. Remedy Diner. A prime example of well-played diner food, Remedy's burger is both delectable and, at $5.75, an excellent deal. The soy flour-based patty sports easily identifiable, ostensibly fresh bits of mushroom, spinach, onion, broccoli, and carrot, along with the occasional lentil. But what makes it stand out is the texture: It's both dense and delicate, with a crispy, golden-brown exterior and moist, chewy innards. Served on an imposing sesame bun, it's as satisfying as its meaty counterparts. 245 East Houston Street, 212-677-5110

7. Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop. The Platonic ideal for soy enthusiasts, Tiny's patty is ever so slightly reminiscent of a Boca burger, but it's got enough heft, flavor, and juicy tenderness to earn our love. Dubbed the Big Mack Daddy, it forgos pedigreed accoutrements in favor of tempeh bacon, French's mustard, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato. The "special sauce" is faintly spicy and alluringly fatty, and permeates the soft brioche bun. At $6.50, its ample proportions make it an excellent choice for budget-minded herbivores. 129 Rivington Street, 212-982-1690

6. Shake Shack. More like a couple of portobellos with cheese than a faux burger, the $6.50 'Shroom burger is a rapturous, definitive refutation of the idea that meatless burgers need come burdened with virtue. This is a breaded, deep-fried, roll-in-the-gutter emissary from the seventh ring of dietary hell: Muenster and cheddar cheese ooze from its core like oil seeping from the earth, and the first ingredient in the Shack Sauce is cellulite. There's lettuce and tomato slices, too, but don't let them fool you: You have attained a level of shameless decadence surpassing even that of a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, and there is no turning back. Multiple locations; shakeshack.com



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8 comments
Dante Amor
Dante Amor

Based on this article and a citation from a Food Network chef we checked out the somewhat disappointing veggie burger at 5 Napkin. 

Yes the flavors, ingredients and accoutrements were worthy of note, but all of that was completely undone by the burger's texture which is basically mush. 

To be fair this is a failing of many (but not all) veggie burgers. More like a disc of paté with a slightly crisp exterior than a burger, and it completely collapses if you attempt to eat it by hand. 

In the end, it was just tasty enough to make up for the textural deficit, but I certainly wouldn't recommend going out of your way for it. 

Zzzzz
Zzzzz

This is weird coming so quickly on the heels of the Times article. But I was glad you featured Choice's burger, which is truly excellent, and that you guys included non-Manhattan burgers (why did the Times have such weird geographic limitations?)

Um, does Hillstone use special anchovy-free Worstershire sauce? Otherwise that thing is not actually a vegetarian veggie burger.

Best Green Hosting
Best Green Hosting

Thanks for sharing some useful info about the best veggie burgers!!..

Jamie
Jamie

But which ones are vegan? THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

arvind s grover
arvind s grover

You missed perhaps the best one in the city, Zaitzeff! Organic Veggie patty with melted cheddar Cheese and avocado on a Portuguese muffin.

Epac
Epac

Agreed. The only way to "eat" a veggie burger is to dump tons of ketchup, mustard + other toppings on it! So why bother???

RJJNYC
RJJNYC

Agree, the veggie burger at Zaitzeff is exquisite, as are the Idaho fries you can get to go with it. Agree about the Big Mack Daddy on this list but Remedy Diner? The one time I had their veggie burger it was a horrendous, inedible stodgy blob that might only have been useful as grouting.

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