Lunch: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Better Burger.” Really, who says so? Isn’t that pretentious, a little? Or was it founded by some bitter former “Goodburger” employee?

photo(3)Reading the menu, words such as “soy protein,” “air-baked” and “nitrate-free meat” sent off warning bells. Is this one of those uses of “better” as in “better for you”? In the world of burgers, there is no such thing. My hackles were raised.

But, as I was unable to otherwise articulate what I actually wanted for lunch, beyond something new (to me), something fast, something not sit-down and something not deli — and at that moment I was outside the Better Burger location in Hell’s Kitchen on Ninth Avenue — I decided to give it a go.

And you know what? I’m really glad I did. Better Burger’s homemade veggie burger is made with a patty which is everything a veggie patty should be: savory, with a texture of rough-ground grains/vegetables, and unapologetically not a hamburger. (I love a good veggie burger; can’t stand the ones that wish they were meat.)

photoAnd to compliment the patty, some really first-class condiments: Thick, ripe roma tomato slices; thin-sliced red onion; long, slender pickle slices; a short stack of iceberg lettuce.

Top it off with a little Karma ketchup and … Don’t laugh. I, too, thought Karma ketchup was yet another crunchy-granola shout-out. It’s infinitely better. Karma ketchup is organic ketchup doctored up with curry, cumin, coriander and cardamon.

… As I was saying, top it all off with a little Karma ketchup and, yes, a little bit of bliss. I’ll be back for the beef; I hope they can cook it medium rare.

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