3 of a Kind: Veggie Burgers
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
Veggie burgers used to be a kind of culinary punishment for vegetarians — doormat-like in texture, these flavorless discs of smashed vegetables were not truly suitable for human consumption. Not anymore. With an increased interest in vegetable-centric fare, even carnivores are craving veggie patties, and chefs are answering the call with hearty two-handed burgers that are true meatless marvels.
Chef and partner Joe Isidori loves falafel so much that he’s turned it into his burger joint’s most-popular vegetarian item. “Falafel is one of my NYC comfort foods! I came up with this recipe as a young cook living in Miami and missed my NYC favorites,” he explains. “So I figured I would just make it since I couldn't find it down there. The recipe is inspired by a Parisian recipe. Basically most recipes are chickpeas with some herbs. Ours is mostly herbs with chickpea to help bind it. We make it fresh every day and will only serve a limited amount. We sell out almost every day.” The Falafel Burger is served on a Martin's Potato Roll, slathered in tahini and topped with pickled onions, briny Greek feta and creamy hummus.
Health is top of mind for Chef Mike Rakun at Mill Valley Kitchen, a restaurant that focuses on locally and sustainably sourced ingredients to create a menu that does a body good. One of the first chefs to put nutritional values for all of his dishes on the menu, Rakun makes his veggie burger from lentils, bulgur wheat, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, shallots, thyme and beets, a combination that yields a surprisingly “meaty” patty. The burger is served on a whole-grain bun, made by local Minneapolis bakery Turtle Bread only for Mill Valley Kitchen, and comes simply with Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion.
This industrial-chic restaurant in the West Loop features a slew of wood-fired pizzas along with American craft beers, wine and inventive cocktails. Those in the know go for the restaurant's hearty Veggie Burger made from black beans and rice, served with white bean hummus, arugula, tomato, avocado and herbed goat cheese on a whole-grain bun. It makes a perfect alfresco lunch on Parlor’s large patio or rooftop.