Is Boston's Next Great Burger Vegetarian?

The big debate with veggie burgers – to try and make them taste like meat (we see you, the Impossible Burger) or to let them taste like vegetables?

Over at Boston's Craigie on Main, Tony Maws' flagship restaurant, a veggie burger has, for the first time, been put on the menu.

Maws' brother is a vegetarian, and the brothers have collectively believed that when eating vegetables, one should let them be celebrated for their true identities, and not as a sub-par meat knock-off.

This burger is an ode to brotherhood, but it is also a fantastic challenge for the chef, who works with meat and veggies alike with incredible ingenuity. The veggie burger, available only at the bar and only on Tuesdays, is no simple matter and Maws treats it as seriously as any beef-and-bacon-fueled patty.

The veggie burger is made up of 13 ingredients, including roasted black beans, brown rice, lentils, fire roasted mushrooms, tahini, fermented black bean powder, miso powder, pomegranate molasses, and egg (so it is not vegan). It is large enough to give any appetite a run for its money. The big and airy bun reminds you of childhood, and the accoutrements are pickled vegetables and aioli with a side of potato wedges. Main's usual house-made ketchup is actually made with anchovies and so it is not served, unless explicitly requested.

Omnivores should try a 'Battle of the Burger'. Order two burgers, one classic Craigie burger and one veggie burger. Taste them side by side and see the difference – it's astounding how they each hold their own.

As always at Craigie, wash these burgers down with any of the excellent wines or expertly crafted cocktails. The team is dedicated and quality-oriented, all as part of Tony's vision. The future of the veggie burger is an ongoing process and tweaks will continue to be made as he hones his definition of a perfect veggie burger. Be sure to head in early as both burgers sell out very early but could a veggie burger ever rank as one of the country's best?

We taste-tested the burger at the invitation of the restaurant.