One of the most prominent fast-food restaurant chains in the United States chose New York City as the testing ground for a new vegetarian hamburger patty, and the taste tests reported thus far are not very encouraging.
In recent years, Shake Shack has emerged as a worthy competitor to major fast-food empires such as McDonald’s and Burger King; the company already had a vegetarian burger option on the menu, but it mostly consisted of a large portobello mushroom dipped in a creamy cheese sauce, a recipe that does not quite evoke a burger patty. On April 20, Shake Shack started serving a new veggie patty made with black beans, beets and brown rice; the texture and consistency of this new recipe is supposed to evoke the experience of a traditional burger patty, but at least one review by a food journalist from the gastronomy website Eater suggests that Shake Shack is not quite hitting the mark.
Ryan Sutton described the Shake Shack vegetarian patty as an overly crunchy eating experience that dissolves into a mushy feeling with an offbeat taste. Mr. Sutton’s summary is that the portobello burger offered by Shake Shack is a better option for diners who do not want a beef patty. This meatless burger is served on Shake Shack’s popular hamburger buns that are made with potato starch; the toppings are generous and include provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, onions, and pickles.
Shake Shack faces competition in the New York market from White Castle, a legendary chain that has been trying to improve its menu with the “Impossible” burger, which is made with a vegetarian patty that is surprisingly tasty even though it does not evoke the texture or flavor of a regular slider.
The New York Shake Shack locations currently serving the new veggie patty are: Upper East Side, Midtown and Astor Place.