Competition is steep in the world of veggie burgers. I decided to call my long-time vegetarian friend and get her suggestion on the best one in town. She suggested Houston's. An Eating Our Words reader, specifically "cbear," picked the competition: Beaver's. Let's see how Battle Veggie Burger played out.
Beaver's veggie burger is actually called the Beaver Nut Burger. It's served alongside a heaping pile of perfectly seasoned potato chips. The patty was made with a mixture of brown rice, cashews, walnuts and cheddar. It was a good size, hearty, but fell apart upon consumption. The cheddar cheese was a bit overpowering, but all and all, no major patty complaints. The big hits were the delicious bread and toppings. The bun was super soft but held together, and the toppings were fresh and plentiful, almost too plentiful. Pickles, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, along with a pickled piece of cauliflower, made for quite a mouthful. I decided to pick off the cauliflower and eat it separately. Great choice, as it was the best thing on the plate. I almost ordered a side. The burger was served with some miso-mustard sauce that didn't do much for me. At $12, the Beaver Nut Burger was overpriced. It felt more like $9.99.
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I was unable to dine in at Houston's and had to get take-out. The House-Made Veggie Burger--comprised of a predominantly brown rice-and-black bean patty, along with all the popular vegetable toppings (lettuce, onions, tomatoes and pickles) -- proved to be successful. The patty, for the most part, held its form with minimal crumbling. It was thick, juicy and had a subtle sweetness from the inclusion of diced beets and soy. The sesame seed bun could have been a little fresher, but the melted Jack cheese and other toppings were spot on. I devoured the entire burger within minutes. No surprise--Houston's shoestring fries, which I typically love, didn't hold up well in transport. Lucky me, another overpriced veggie burger at $12.
Houston's--by a nose. This was my closest battle yet. Both versions of the veggie burger were unique, delicious, and very different from one another. Beaver's bun and veggies were better. Their chips were better. But Houston's patty just stood out. Maybe I'm just more of a fan of black beans over nuts. Maybe. But for me, I think the beets and sweet soy sauce vaulted Houston's to victory. Not only did the beets provide the perfect flavoring, but they also gave the patty a meaty (medium-rare) look. They did a great job of tricking the brain, and I appreciate the creativity. I'm craving another Houston's veggie burger, and I just can't say that about Beaver's.
Next Up: Is there anything better this time of year than a bowl of French onion soup? I'm going to Croissant Brioche for mine. But I need you to pick the competition. Drop me a line in the comment box.