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Ah, the travails of the veggie burger. So often rubbery or mealy. Frequently over-soaked in the faux-chicory flavor that characterizes so many meat alternatives. Dry, floppy patties that can be more Soylent Green than green gourmet. But take heart, vegs of New York, good veggie burgers can still be found. Here are five of the tastiest served up around the City.
Sun-dried tomatoes, hummus, and fresh greens dress up this Lower East Side coffee-and-sandwich shop’s generously sized $6.50 veggie burger. The patty is crisp on the outside and filled with bits of carrots. By themselves, the components are pretty basic, par for the veggie sandwich course, but they’re rarely together on a burger. At Mocha, they give the meal a complex, rich, and earthy vibe. Really, a veritable bonanza of meatless goodies on a bun. [116 Second Avenue, 212-253-1046]
The $7.50 patty at DUMBO’s Choice doesn’t stay in one piece for very long. But the masala motif makes you care little about texture. A splash of curry mayo adds kick to the ground lentil, rice, and barley burger. Slices of avocado, radish, and sprouts, coupled with a heaping helping of salad greens, make for a good contrast: cool and calm amid warm Indian spices. [108 Jay Street, Brooklyn, 718-797-1695]
Smoky, crisp tempeh bacon and melted soy cheese top this Park Slope vegan hot spot’s $8 veggie burger, making for a darned delicious sandwich. The patty is good, not remarkable–a bit better than your typical beans/lentils/soy mix. However, the sandwich as a whole excels if you want to eat a juicy, meaty meal–minus the meat, of course. Also, the vegan soy cheese is convincingly dairy-like. It has the texture and taste of milk-based cheddar. [156 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-622-2275]
The $8 black bean burger patty at this Williamsburg bistro is spiced simply and just right–a perfect pairing of salt and pepper, with a warm nuttiness. What stands out, though: slices of fresh pickled onions and bell peppers in addition to traditional pickles. This, along with plain cucumber slices and a creamy dressing, make for a satisfying burger substitute. Swiss cheese, though extra, is also a good call–distinct and strong, it keeps the overall flavor from being over-the-top legumey. [352 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-782-0910]
Galaxy Global Eatery
Galaxy’s $8.95 hemp-nut veggie burger is thick, juicy, and salty: what you should order if you want greasy, meatless fast food. But the dry, crispy hemp nuts sprinkled on the patty, plus a garlicky tomato salsa, keep this hearty plate from being too heavy. Veg diner fare near Union Square, in a sense–healthy, but with just the right number of guilt-inducing elements. For that authentic cheeseburger feel, consider trying it with a slice of yellow American. [15 Irving Place, 212-777-3631]
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