The ballots have been tallied, and the votes are in. The world's best burger has just been crowned by GQ, and — wait for it — it has no meat. Deep breaths, carnivorous beings. Deep breaths. While you're probably questioning the validity of a system that would bestow top honors upon a veggie patty, rest assured this is no fluke. This isn't just any veggie patty.
Located in New York City's East Village, Superiority Burger restaurant is the brainchild of chef Brooks Headley — a former punk-rock-drummer-turned-culinary-master who knows how to raise a little hell in the kitchen. For fans of the raved about burger joint, it comes as little surprise Superiority's namesake burger (which, c'mon, how fitting) swept the judges at GQ off their feet. Gushed the mag's own Nick Marino in GQ 's field guide of the most must-have foods and drinks of 2015:
Maybe the best thing about NYC chef Brooks Headley's raved-about Superiority Burger — better even than the nutty patty, the roasted umami-bomb tomato, the fact that no cows were harmed in the creation of this sandwich — is the texture. The bun squishes. The lettuce crunches. The pickles snap. That patty, made from ingredients Headley won't divulge and miles beyond whatever your vegan friends use to assault your grill during barbecues, has genuine heft. Who knew that in the perfectly proportioned Platonic ideal of a burger, beef isn't even necessary?
As a vegetarian, this news makes me feel ever-so-slightly smug and, mostly, wishing I had a long weekend coming up during which to sneak away to NYC for a bit and taste this veggie burger royalty myself. For the time being, I'll have to suffice feeling ever-so-slightly smug and reading reviews of the Superiority Burger by people who live in close enough proximity to indulge (or have plenty of vacay days saved up).
So while the notion that the world's best burger is comprised entirely of veggies may at first come as a shock, let it settle for a moment. It's not really a far-fetched idea, given that the worthiness of the best burger is deemed by taste. Who cares if there's no meat as long as the taste surpasses your best expectations? Besides, the Superiority Burger isn't the only veggie food carnivores can't get enough of — just check out these popular vegetarian picks.
Growing national chain Shake Shack created a crowd pleaser when it introduced the 'Shroom Burger — a breaded and deep-fried cheese-stuffed portobello mushroom in a bun. And topped with the chain's special sauce, naturally! From the mouth of Bustle editor Lucia Peters, "I'm not veggie, but I'll take the 'Shroom Burger at Shake Shack over a regular burger every dang time." She's not the only one loving this veggie delight.
On NYC staple Dirt Candy's menu since 2008, this creative appetizer marries Canadian maple butter with Southern hushpuppies — and the result is nothing short of spectacular. Chef Amanda Cohen often draws praise for the unique way in which she presents vegetables for popular consumption, and her jalapeno hush puppies speak to the heart of her ability to appeal to meat-lovers, vegans, and everyone in between.
With pizza arguably being the most meat-eater friendly vegetarian fare there is, the competition among pizza vendors if fierce. But Paulie Gee's inspired ingredients give this Brooklyn eatery an edge. The Hellboy — a pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Berkshire Sopressata Piccante, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Mike's Hot Honey — continually draws praise from non-vegetarians.
Housed in an old (repurposed) gas station in foodie town Charleston, South Carolina, Xiao Bao Biscuit never disappoints. But if there is one dish diners insist you must try if you make the pilgrimage, it is the okonomiyaki. This cabbage pancake is a perennial favorite — one bite and you'll understand why.
If you're craving a sandwich, don't reach for the roast beef just yet. Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Winter Park, FL has a delicious vegetarian alternative for you — their What's the Dilly, Philly? sandwich. Ready to drool? It's made with marinated seitan sauteed with onions, red and green bell peppers, mozzarrella cheese, and vegenaise, all served on a fresh French roll. Yum just doesn't seem sufficient.