Best of New York

The Absolute Best Veggie Burger in New York

The groundbreaking blue-ribbon un-burger at Superiority Burger. Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

With the flowering of the great vegetable revolution, the veggie burger has experienced a renaissance around New York, especially among a new generation of chefs looking for a healthy, environmentally friendly alternative to your average double-decker, grease-and-cheese-drenched meat bomb. You can enjoy this new breed of veggie burger at all sorts of places, including vegan restaurants, newfangled burger stands, and even at the bars of old-style meat-and-potato restaurant chains.

The Absolute Best

1. Superiority Burger
430 E. 9th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-256-1192

The award-winning pastry chef and veggie-burger obsessive Brooks Headley likes to say that he’s eaten more vegetable burgers than any man alive, and after a bite or two of this groundbreaking blue-ribbon un-burger, you’ll know why. Unlike the old-fashioned mung-bean-and-alfalfa-sprout model (but like lots of real beef burgers), this uncannily realistic burger creation tends to get stickier and more densely tasty as you eat it, thanks to the quinoa-and-carrot patty, which is colored dark (like the real one), and imbued with crushed nutmeg for that granular, fresh off the grill crunch. The bun is a classic Martin’s roll (thank you, Shake Shack), the lettuce is iceberg, the cheese is melted Muenster, and, as with any burger of the first rank, as soon as you’ve finished it you’re thinking about the next one.

2. By Chloe
185 Bleecker St., at Macdougal St.; no phone

Some vegan creations work better than others at this rabidly popular Greenwich Village restaurant, but the messy, surprisingly generous tempeh-and-lentil “classic burger” is something even a devout carnivore can love. For maximum pleasure, be sure to order it with a side of the crispy “air baked” fries.

3. Blue Hill
75 Washington Pl., nr. Macdougal St.; 212-539-1776

Dan Barber’s ingenious, trend-setting wastED burger (made from Dumpster-bound food waste, in case you haven’t heard) would be higher on our list if it were actually on the menu at Barber’s Village restaurant (we hear rumors that it’s an occasional special) and possibly a little more bountifully sized (it’s really more of a slider).

4. The NoMad Bar
10 W. 28th St., nr. Broadway; 212-796-1500

Daniel Humm and his cooks construct this magisterial vegetable version of their great beef burger (instead of gently aged beef, this patty is mostly quinoa, lentils, and corn) with the usual aplomb.

5. The Dutch
131 Sullivan St., at Prince St.; 212-677-6200

Andrew Carmellini’s bountiful lunchtime non-burger is topped with a wad of mushrooms and melting Swiss cheese, and infused with diced beets, which give it a realistic, beefy color. The only downside is the relatively hefty $21 sticker price.

6. Wilma Jean
345 Smith St., at Carroll St., Carroll Gardens; 718-422-0444

We’re not normally big fans of bean-based veggie burgers (they taste like, um, beans). But this looks and feels like a real burger right down to the crunchy char, and a gob of Rob Newton’s pimento cheese sauce (which you can add for an extra two dollars) will mask a lot of ills.

7. Bareburger
535 LaGuardia Pl., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-477-8125

If you’re a fan of the old-school, ’70s-era hippie original, Bareburger’s Guadalupe is the burger for you. The stout black-bean patty is crowned with a generous spoonful of California guacamole, and there are alfalfa sprouts everywhere, including the fat, lightly toasted sprout bun.

8. Hillstone
378 Park Ave. South, at 27th St.; 212-689-1090

On the plus side, this soft, bountiful non-burger will save you tons of calories if you sub it for the classic beef burger at the lower Park Avenue branch of this upscale restaurant chain. On the maybe-not-so-good side, the faintly sweet flavor (and the nice softness) comes from a healthy dose of prunes.

The Absolute Best Veggie Burger in New York