Monday, December 31, 2007

Better Burger

We recently checked out Better Burger located at 587 9th Ave (they also have two other locations in Manhattan). Better Burger is health-conscious fast food joint with a decent selection of vegetarian and vegan options.

Homemade Veggie Burger and Smashed Potatoes
I think most vegans and vegetarians will agree that there are two types of veggie burgers out there. There’s the mock meat veggie burger which is usually pure soy and made to resemble an actual meat burger in appearance, taste and texture. And then there’s what I like to call the “health food” veggie burger, which is shaped like a burger and you eat it on a bun, but the texture and flavor and appearance are determined by whatever grains and veggies and other stuff that were used in it’s creation. I wish restaurants would specify which type they serve, as I’m often in the mood for one and I end up getting the other. At Better Burger, they offer both. From what I understand, the Savory Soy Burger is a mock meat burger and the HomemadeVeggie Burger is a health food burger. I ordered the latter. Health food burgers are often too mushy for me, but this one had a pretty decent texture. It was loaded with lettuce, tomato and onion and I applied some mustard and “cajun ketchup” from Better Burger’s extensive condiment selection. The flavor was savory and salty enough for my satisfaction. The Smashed Potatoes were good and creamy. The only thing I didn’t like about them was that the flavor had a hint of sweetness, which was a little weird. -Jim

Jumbo Soy Dogs (NYC Style) and Baked Fries
I was starving when I got to BB, and way full when I left. I ordered 2 Jumbo Soy Dogs topped with BBQ onions and sauerkraut (aka NYC style) and the Baked Fries. I loved the Soy Dogs, because they were indeed jumbo, and they sliced and grilled them so there was no rubbery quality. You can also order your dog Classic Style which comes with sauerkraut and relish, or even "Double the Dog" which gives you twice the dog on one bun. Like I said these were really filling, so I was glad that Jim had half of one. The Baked Fries, as oxymoronic as they sound, were decent alternatives to the fried fries of other places. I think they were best when hot, but when they cooled off they tasted like pure potato sticks and not so much like fries, and thus a little magic was lost. I prefer the smashed potatoes and will get those instead next time. -Ev

The Bottom Line
Eating vegan in the West 40’s isn’t too hard. Zen Palate, Zenith and Meskerem are all decent options. But if you have time constraints or financial restraints, consider Better Burger! My very filling burger and potatoes were less than ten bucks and I got them about five minutes after I ordered. Also, BB has a cute, fast food atmosphere but the food struck me as healthy and homemade. To complete the fast food vibe, you can order a soy milkshake. I can’t vouch for it because I didn’t try it, but I definitely will give it a try next time. -Jim
Better Burger was a delicious delivery treat when I worked in the vegan wasteland known as mid-town. I love their food and their mission. They also have great salad options with tofu or orzo, and usually have some kind of vegan dessert (packaged cookies or brownies). Like Jim, I look forward to trying their milkshakes! I can see what Jim says about the Smashed Potatoes being a tiny bit sweet but they are deeeelicous! -Ev