Is meatless eating finally gaining some ground in this long-reputed steak and lobster town? Or does it just seem that way in the heralded hipster hub of Columbia Heights? Either way, I’m downright delighted with the veggie burger at The Getaway, a tasty and tender but, most importantly, firmly constructed blend of black beans and quinoa that can hold its own against any meatless patty in the city.
I’ve tasted a butt ton of beef-less burgers made from all sorts of textured proteins since signing on as the vegetarian critic for Y&H. The vast majority of them really sucked.
It’s good to end on an up note. (On Dec. 12, I’ll be expanding my purview to even omnivorous extents as dining editor at Northern Virginia Magazine. Peace out, Y&H readers. I will miss you all—-even those commenters who wrote really horrible, horrible shit about me.)
Clearly, I’m not the only veg head who digs it, either.
Getaway owner Jeremy Mintz tells me the veggie version actually outsells his regular burgers—-even the house signature burger topped with bacon and a fried egg.In the month of November, for instance, the black bean and quinoa patty accounted for around 35 percent of all burger sales, with the remaining burgers splitting the difference, Mintz says.
Its financial success has Mintz thinking about adding even more meatless options to the menu. “We’re thinking about a mushroom sandwich and also thinking about a really nice grilled cheese and soup,” he says. The new options could appear before year’s end. If you’re wondering what a “really nice grilled cheese” means, Mintz is talking about flaunting as many as four different cheeses.
The Getaway’s vegan burger, unlike some other lesser varieties, doesn’t need cheese to make it palatable. Its success relies on the patty’s consistency. The quinoa-based patty is a brave move. At Black Squirrel, the quinoa and eggplant burger proved to be a total fucking disaster, as the tiny pearls of complete protein scattered everywhere (reminding me of a pivotal scene in LOST) and turning the meal into a complete mess.
This was not so at The Getaway, as the dominating black beans, both pureed and left whole, bind together the quinoa, red bell peppers, yellow aji (Peruvian hot pepper), oregano, cilantro, cumin and garlic. The patty gets its start in the frying pan and ends in the oven, as chef Ismael Otarola points out, “to let it get nice and firm.”
One minor complaint: It’s just a tiny bit under-seasoned, which can be helped with a slathering of Dijon. Still, this burger easily ranks among the top tier of veggie patties city-wide.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Mintz/The Getaway