“Yes, I would give stars to a hamburger stand. No, probably not four stars,” New York Times food critic Pete Wells said in his 2012 review of Shake Shack, which he awarded one star.
Given that statement, Brooks Headley, chef and owner of the tiny, all-veggie Superiority Burger, should be ecstatic over Wells’ two-star review of his trendy East Village hole in the wall. Especially since, by his own admission, Wells doesn’t even like veggie burgers.
Though Eater critic Robert Sietsema called Headley’s burger “unqualifiedly delicious,” Wells didn’t go quite that far. “The Superiority Burger is indeed superior to many other veggie burgers, but truly loving it may require a built-in desire for veggie burgers that I lack,” he wrote.
As a beef burger fan, Wells was satisfied with the “energetic crackle” of the patty’s crust, but was left wanting more (read: something that once had a pulse) when he tasted its mashed bean, nut, and grain innards.
His review was made glowing by Headley’s creative yet unfussy sides and a “craveable” riff on a Philly cheesesteak made with tofu skin, a “flavorful species of cashew cheese,” and well-caramelized peppers and onions.
He also praised the desserts, which, on one visit, included a sundae of peach sorbet, toasted hamburger bun gelato, and roasted peaches.
Headley opened Superiority Burger in late June.He is the former pastry chef of Del Posto, Mario Batali’s Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, and was the 2012 recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef award.He’s also an accomplished punk rock drummer.
You can spot him in the restaurant simply by looking for the guy who’s wearing the paper hat.
Shortly after Superiority Burger opened, Headley told the Washington Post that his dream is to create “the complete analog of meat that’s not meat but has those qualities.”
The restaurant has just six seats and is open Wednesday through Monday for four hours a day, 6 to 10 p.m.