In a white-tiled slip of an East Village eatery, former James Beard Award-winning Del Posto pastry great and erstwhile punk-rock drummer Brooks Headley gives his uberpopular veggie burger pop-up the brick-and-mortar treatment, offering the namesake patty, tofu-cabbage wraps, vegetarian sloppy joes and vanilla-labna gelato.
Whereas most veggie burgers are sad, previously frozen affairs, relegated to the edge of the grill and served tepid, Headley’s small, slider-size burger arrives satisfyingly hot. His is quinoa-based, rather than the familiar reconstituted puck of vegetable and soy bits; nuts and aromatic spices lend it a slight whiff of Christmas cake.
Headley told the Washington Post that he was working on “the right squish factor”; the patty, when pressed between two halves of a Martin’s potato roll, has the same give as rare ground meat. Mustard and pickles lend the classic McDonald’s tang, and Muenster cheese and a slow-roasted tomato confer umami. A slip of flavorless iceberg lettuce is pure signifier: a cheap fast-food burger would not be complete without it.
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