On the left, Veggie Burger #2; on the right, Veggie Burger #1.
It’s de rigueur nowadays for any burger joint to offer a veggie burger, usually something surreptitiously pulled from the freezer case. Fourteenth Street newcomer Elevation Burger departs from the norm by offering not one but two quite dissimilar vegetarian burger choices, designated Veggie Burger #1 and Veggie Burger #2, both priced at $3.99.
To confuse things, Veggie Burger #1 is marked vegetarian, while Veggie Burger #2 is labeled vegan. What’s the difference, and which is better? That’s what we were determined to find out.
Veggie Burger #1 is orange and creamy.
I found it a little odd that Veggie Burger #1, the non-vegan one, is a livid orange color, which would never be mistaken for a real burger patty (usually, veggie burgers attempt to at least approximate the color of a meat-bearing burger). When I asked the clerk what prevented it from being vegan, she replied, “Oh, there’s real mozzarella cheese in there.” I’m sure there is, except it looks more like Velveeta, with its luminescent orange tint and liquid texture. Another major component of #1 is grains of rice, and it looked like white rice, too. There’s some breading in there, for sure. The patty’s like mac and cheese, only it’s rice and cheese.
Veggie Burger #2 bursts with what looks like a frozen-mixed-vegetable assortment.
Ironically (and this is probably an incorrect use of “ironically”), the vegan (#2) burger is nut-brown, like a burger that has just been done on the barbecue grill. What’s more, it has actual hash marks on it. Still, little nuggets of vegetable gleam — not uninvitingly — just under the surface of the patty. Biting into it you find lots of corn and bell pepper, and what look like flecks of green herbs, with some binders, of course.
I had each burger dressed with tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and mustard. Veggie #1 has a creamy mouthfeel, and a taste that can only be described as “yellow.” Hmmm. Goes nice with the bun, like the burger and bun had been destined by fate to be together.
Veggie #2 more resembles the regulation veggie burger, and the bright vegetables are a boon, though they create a texture that makes you feel like you’re eating a vegetable fritter in a Japanese or Indian vein.
The Verdict: All things considered, the Veggie Burger #2 was superior. It’s nice to put the vegetable back in “veggie.”
103 West 14th Street