Everybody loves a good burger. And for those who claim the “classic” way to make a burger is to use a ground up cow — well, you’re in for a shock, because it’s time to wake up and smell the pea protein.
As a rule and as a longtime vegan, I do try to avoid highly processed fake meats, which are really not much better than eating plastic. Ok, I exaggerate, it’s certainly not as bad, but it’s just one thing I try to limit, personally. The less processed the better.
Having said that, I do love me a good vegan burger. Marty’s V Burger, which upon a bit of internet research and direct word-of-mouth from Marty himself (super nice guy!) has been making the rounds at all the main veggie festas and LIC flea, so they’ve certainly been hustling! Marty also told me he’d be opening a brick-and-mortar in the city by next spring/summer, so my veganchaosters, check back for that post (of course I know y’all wait patiently with bated breath for my posts, si?).
Well, right now, MVB is a little pop-up stand in Bryant Park. Lovely as the park is, curious diners most likely should plan for any OCD NYC weather if they want to have a good time. It’s also crucial to note that the MVB pop-up stand does NOT give you a cup of tap water, only bottled. And the fountain gets turned off in the park starting the winter season, so you’re outta luck if you want some free water!
The counter lady who served me was very sweet, and happy to explain each menu item I asked about. No complaints!
Shroom Steakhouse (6.50) –
First off, I love the name of the burger. I’ve never seen the word “steakhouse” used to describe a vegan burger, and I appreciate their boldness in using a very animalistic food term to describe a veggie burger. Kudos!
As for the burger itself, it was certainly tasty enough, though nothing super special. The burger is basically a veggie patty topped with melted mozzarella Daiya, diced mushrooms, and BBQ sauce. The bun is a typical store-bought hamburger bun. I think it would have been nice if they added in lettuce, tomato and onion as well, since I thought it was a bit bare with just the cheese, sauce and mushrooms. Veg that burger up!
Crabby Patty (7.50)–
I’ve never had a vegan “seafood-themed” burger in my life, so this was a welcome experience. The main ingredient in Marty’s Crabby Patty is pea protein, which I mentioned right before I ordered (I visited the stand twice in one day and recalled the pea protein detail from ordering the first time. Not an addict, I promise :P). Marty, who was at the stand during my second visit, was surprised and impressed I knew that. Then we proceeded to chat about all things vegan (and a possible behind-the-scenes video! Marty, hit me up!) and I discovered he was a super nice guy, which was not a shock, since pretty much all vegans are nice people.
Ok, so after that brief aside, let’s talk about the burger itself. Because it is made out of pea protein, it gave the patty a kind of chunkier — but not unappealing — texture. It had the right amount of saltiness and kind of reminded me of a tastier, more seasoned potato latke. I also loved the veganaise-y sauce with the dollop of shredded lettuce. The taste of the patty was the forefront, not the sauce itself, which was the main difference between the two burgers.
Pricewise, both burgers are waaay too small for my liking. I’ve had burgers at Organic Grill for three dollars more that were twice as big, plus a side of fries. Marty’s needs to get it together on the price point. Then again, opening up a restaurant ain’t cheap, especially in NYC. I’ll certainly be seeking them out when they open next year!