Serious Eats: Chicago
The Vegetarian Option: Quinoa Veggie Burger at Royce
I've never been into veggie burgers. If I'm going to a burger joint, I'm ordering a burger, not a MorningStar patty or a shapeless blob supposedly made of black beans or lentils. Then I tried the house-made quinoa veggie burger ($9) at Royce.
I wasn't really considering it until chef/owner John des Rosiers came over to our table and enthusiastically recommended it. You can build your own burger at Royce, or choose from a signature burger. The latter seem to be largely created with beef in mind, so I chose to keep it simple with mushrooms and beer mustard on mine.
The Inca Red quinoa patty is loosely griddled, with crispy quinoa bits flaking off the edges. Although quinoa is by far the main ingredient, there are also carrots, celery, and onions blended in and the mixture is loosely held together with an egg, so it's easily cut with a fork. Sautéed cremini and trumpet mushrooms along with spicy beer mustard were excellent additions, although the patty is flavorful enough to stand alone.
Soon, I need to return to try a real burger, because I can't imagine that beef could be better than quinoa.