TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

Tag: Tacoma vegetarian restaurants

May
10th

Going veg: Tasty burgers, minus the meat

Social's veggie burger is made with a portobello mushrooms, black bean quinoa salad with jack cheese. It's served with regular or sweet potato fries. Janet Jensen/Staff photographer
Social’s veggie burger is made with a portobello mushroom, black bean quinoa salad and jack cheese. It’s served with regular or sweet potato fries. Janet Jensen/Staff photographer

A few decades ago, ordering a veggie burger garnered a skeptical look from a cashier and bitter disappointment from a grill cook. What inevitably would arrive was a disappointment squished into a bun: lettuce, tomatoes, onions and maybe pickles, if you were lucky.
Then along came commercially prepared veggie patties that skipped the meat and included ingredients such as grains, rice, cheese and vegetables. Some were good; some tasted like spackle and mushrooms.

It took a good decade of demand for better-tasting patties to arrive. With even fast-food restaurants embracing veggie patties, it made sense that vegetarian burgers eventually would land in the hands of chefs. Just as chefs have turned the humble burger into something of a fussy culinary spectacle, veggie burgers have gone gourmet in fine dining rooms across the country.

Chefs everywhere have been fiddling with the formula – hand-making patties featuring grains such as quinoa, barley, millet and farro – and now the trend appears to have landed here. On South Sound menus, diners now can find housemade grain- and vegetable-based patties and new tweaks in the world of portobello mushroom burgers.

If you’re a meat eater reading this, well, the burgers might not come close to squashing your hankering for a double bacon cheeseburger — in fact, they’ll probably disappoint you miserably. However, for vegetarians, these burgers are far more thoughtfully composed than I’ve ever seen on local menus.

Here are seven of the best I found. Read more »