As much as I love a big ol’, juicy, meaty burger (and you should I know I love it a lot), I’m also— and have been since way before this whole vegan challenge of mine— a big fan of veggie burgers. I don’t equate one with the other but love them both separately. Sometimes I want a good burger, and sometimes I just want a solid veggie burger. That’s just how it is.
I’ve had some made from tofu, great ones out of black beans, and others with actual chopped up veggies, but never until a few days ago, when I had the forbidden rice burger at Ni Japanese Delicacies in the Essex Street Market, had I eaten one made out of rice.
Ni is a small place, really a tiny, walk up counter of vegan and vegetarian Japanese inspired bites and drinks. Their veggie burger, which usually comes on a brioche but can be replaced with vegan sprouted bread, has a “patty” of Asian black rice, maitake mushrooms, carrots, and kale and comes topped with baby arugula, pickled sweet peppers and vegan herb mayo.
This rice burger I’m sure without a doubt is better on the brioche, but even on the vegan-friendly sprouted bread, it was pretty good. The problem with a lot of veggie burgers is that they end up dry or crumbly, but Ni’s rice wasn’t either of those. It was soft and just moist enough to not be a dry ball of rice, and had a good, earthy delicious flavor. The pickled sweet peppers and the baby arugula added a little variety in the way of texture and veggie flavors.
All around meatless deliciousness, and something I’ll definitely be coming back to when I just want a veggie burger.