It's just another vegan Sunday in SOMA StrEat Food land! Honestly, me and the SO don't necessarily mean to come here when it's all vegan, it just happens that way since Sundays are our one crossover off day. Nevertheless, it's become my goal to find something vegan that is both tasty and, well, tasty about sums it up. This time around we are snacking it up with No No Burger since I hadn't been down the faux burger route, I thought it would be interesting to at least try.
It's a small menu with less than a handful of choices, which in the scheme of things just makes it easier to try a little of pretty much everything they have.
Here we have the No No Classic, an organic soy patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled and raw onions with their special No No sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun for $9. For an extra $1, we also had them toss on the vegan "bacon". I'm not sure what I was really expecting, though I had lowered them so I wouldn't be totally disappointed if it really sucked or something. I could just chalk it up to "well, at least I tried it." Overall it wasn't terrible. I know, not exactly a ringing endorsement, but coming from a Southern meat eater, it kind of is. I won't go so far as to say this tasted like a burger though. The patty appears to be deep fried, thus a little crusty on outside is nice. Texture wise though, it's more mush than meat-ish. The "bacon" was a round slab that looked more like sliced ham than bacon. It did have a very slight taste of bacon and a little smokiness, but it was real subtle. It also had a strange aftertaste to me, thus I can't say I was a fan of it. I did like their No No Sauce. It was a cross somewhere between a remoulade and McD's special sauce from a Big Mac. The grilled onions are a tasty addition adding some sweetness to mingle with the touch of spice in the sauce. The first few bites of this you could probably actually fool yourself into thinking it's near to the real thing. Once you get halfway through though, the real lack of texture and true flavors seep away, leaving just a bun and some mushy stuff that becomes hard for the non vegans like us to get past.
Next was the melted mushroom again with the soy patty, lettuce, tomato, grilled and raw onions, No No Sauce, pickles, sauteed mushrooms and melted cheddar for $11. When I saw this on the menu I kind of thought it would be one of those portobello mushroom things folks usually get when they want vegan/vegetarian burger substitutes, thus I was a little surprised when I got the soy patty too. This one isn't totally vegan since it had real cheddar cheese melted on it. The mushrooms with the soy give it a much more earthy flavor to mix with the onion sweetness. Add in the sauce and I'm back to what happened with the first "burger", The initial few bites I kept thinking, this isn't bad even knowing it wasn't a burger, nor did it really taste like one. But about halfway through, all the ingredients together turn rather mushy and something about the soy "burger" itself just becomes unappealing to my taste buds. Hard to exactly pinpoint what it is that throws me, could be in the seasonings, whatever it is, I just can't finish it. The SO didn't love or hate these either, though I don't think they would be a regular food option for 'em.
Fortunately for us, french fries are totally vegan and what not and for $4, you get a pretty large portion of crinkle fries, fresh out of the fryer, crispy and salty, like we like them. These kinds of crinkle fries remind me of old school diners that served these up with burgers. If nothing else, they were really good and a decent value for the amount you get. More than enough for two to share, even me and the SO.
Hmmm...what can I say. For the vegan/vegetarian folks, these soy burger combos are probably right up your taste alley and will satisfy any faux burger craving you'd be having. For those of us who don't normally follow such guidelines, they are passable, but not something we'd get on a regular occasion. And since I sometimes rail against $10 sandwiches with not sides in this town, I'm also gonna ding them as being a bit on the pricey side for a no meat, medium sized burger/sandwich. I know this is my own personal war I'm waging on things that really shouldn't be so pricey and everyone has their own price threshold for things, but I want to remain consistent on calling out things regardless of their local, organic, non-GMO, etc. iterations. So, to sum up--for the vegetarian/vegan out there--go all in! For the rest of us mostly meat loving, once in a blue moon vegetarian peeps--if you want to try them, best to just split one "burger" as just a few bites will be enough for you. And get some fries--because, why not?