Finally: A Champion is Crowned / The Preview of the Next Burger Battle
Here we are. The long overdue conclusion of my first New York City Vegan Victuals Burger Battle! After 16 burgers, a champion has emerged. And it’s Brooklyn’s Toad Style! With a commitment to housemade excellence, Toad Style sets a high standard for all those who hope to create a top-notch vegan burger.
In a long battle that had two great burger options going out of business, the vegan burger field in New York City is ever-evolving. Check the brand new Burger Brackets at the end of this post to see who will be battling next. I can’t wait for the current champion Toad Style to battle Round 2’s champion. But, I get ahead of myself. Let’s see how Toad Style beat out Brooklyn’s Chickpea & Olive to be named the 2015 champion… a little late.
I was happy that Chickpea & Olive opened in Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, available 7 days a week! I work a few blocks away and treated myself for a week of classroom set-up with a visit. After all, the burger is one of those $12 burgers. That’s a bit of a tall price considering they are not a brick ‘n mortar paying rent in the big city and there is nothing on the side.
Chickpea & Olive’s beet burger is a great base. The ground beet makes it hearty but moist. But a burger is a package. And Chickpea’s downfall was the fixings. The thickly cut eggplant was not at all “bacon”-like. And the charred patty already brought a bit of smokiness. So the eggplant really didn’t offer anything new by way of flavor or texture. I often rant about Daiya, which I omitted, being part of menus, especially in regard to fresh food values and price value. In this age of sky-rocketing vegan standards, Daiya is just not going to cut it anymore. Finally, the bun: perfect. It’s soft, supple, and toasted to perfection. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
Part of this battle’s considerations is consistency. Chickpea & Olive’s delicious beet patty has never let me down. I hope that a housemade cheese option will one day knock out the need for the packaged vegan cheese.
Then there was one more burger to eat. A door bust to Toad Style would deliver the last burger in Round 1. From the moment I set it in front of me, I knew.
It was beautiful. So many colors, so many textures–from top to bottom this burger is a champion. Starting at the top… though I have called for a softer bun, I know that this bun is far less processed, likely made near-by, and aligned with their food values, which are high. The same values that raise the rest of the burger’s components to excellence. The bun, though not my favorite (I loved the potato buns of now-defunct Pickle Shack and M.O.B. the best) is far less important than what’s in it: snappy pickles and onion, creamy oozing almond cheese, a flavorful patty that’s made from scratch, a big ol’ heirloom tomato, ketchup & mayo. Attention to detail, taste, texture, no packages, housemade, what else can I praise?
All together, the cheeseburger knocks out all other burger competitors with a kung fu chop, toad style.
Toad Style, who only recently celebrated their year birthday, has been consistently delicious at each of my 4 visits. Service is always with a smile, which counts. And they just know how to make great vegan food. Their inventive specials complement their regular menu of sammies and sides. Now that I have completed this battle, I want to try more than their cheeseburger! Like the breakfast sandwich that CP feasted on in the background.
And that is that. Champions: Toad Style. Congratulations!!
So many burgers, so little time. The burger brackets for Round 2 are already up! This battle combines under-the-radar vegan options, old standards, new fast food spots, recommendations, elusive pop-up/trucks. And I threw in Modern Love Brooklyn in the likely case that they have a burger. I am looking forward to more battles!