Bareburger’s all-natural, organic menu is amazing. Especially the Avocado California Burger with elk, one of eight patty choices. (Ostrich and bison are also represented.)
Elk is leaner and has more protein than both chicken and turkey, although it is high in cholesterol. You can’t beat the multigrain (or gluten-free) bun and organic veggie toppings.
$13.40 (for elk). Locations throughout the city, www.bareburger.com
A good veggie burger is hard to find. And the only bad thing about the Katchkie Truck’s is that it’s always on the go. Thankfully, you can get the stationary version at its sister spot, Mae Mae Café.
Wild rice and wheat berries give it a crunchy texture and almost nutty taste; spinach keeps it moist. Toppings, like homemade tomato jam, are straight from the Katchie Farm, in Columbia County.
$10 for burger, lemonade, and a side at the Katchkie Truck, location varies @katchkietruck
$9, Mae Mae Café, 68 Vandam St., at Hudson St., West Soho, www.greatperformances.com
I was temporarily shocked when my veggie 5 Napkin Burger showed up on my plate—its shade of red was reminiscent of raw meat. Turns out a beet-heavy base accounts for the color, and black beans, shredded carrot, and seeds supplement the flavor.
A healthy serving of lettuce, tomato, and a pile of sweet pickles sit between the patty and the multigrain bun. Warning: Have a handful of napkins at the ready for the messy special sauce (glorified Russian dressing?). I’m also pretty sure its primary ingredient is fat.
$11.95, 5 Napkins Burger. Locations in Hell’s Kitchen, Upper West Side, and Astoria, www.5napkinburger.com
The Big Matt, Rawvolution’s vegan riff on a burger, comes with the predictable grassy aftertaste that accompanies many raw-food dishes. But the pickles, seed cheese, and mustard that top its walnut-mushroom patty give it a savory flair and flavor that holds up outside the raw-food universe.
Although it was the smallest burger we sampled, it was really filling and satisfying.
$11.50, Rawvolution, 504 E. 12th St., btwn Aves. A and B, East Village, www.euphorialovesrawvolution.com
The beef-and-egg Bibimbap Burger at Angelo Sosa’s Asian-infused burger joint, Social Eatz, gets all the attention. But the Top Chef star’s Grilled Tofu Burger deserves the healthier spotlight.
A generous square of non-GMO tofu is marinated in soy sauce and topped with pickled peppery daikon radishes, giving it a spicy kick. Just don’t order it on a date—it drips all over you as you eat.
$8, Social Eatz, 232 E. 53rd St., btwn Second and Third Aves., Midtown East, www.socialeatz.com
If McDonald’s got a super-healthy upgrade, it’d be Good Health Burgers. My Black Bean Bacon Vegan Burger looked unimpressively like fast food (see photo).
But it tasted amazing, piled high with delish soy-based bacon, peppers, Portobello, and guacamole, and served on a toasted wheat bun. The salmon burger was also tasty, and the vegan mayo and sour cream much appreciated.
Tip: Skip the free (and stale) chips, and go for the side of quinoa.
$8.25, Good Health Burgers, 237 E. 53rd St., btwn Second and Third Aves., Midtown East, www.goodhealthburgersnyc.com
If you’re going to go for a classic beef patty, the Char-Grilled Brandt Natural Beef Burger at Josie’s is a great choice. The flavor automatically clues you in to its quality—organic, grass-fed, and ground daily.
You can top it with soy-based or antibiotic-free cheddar, and enjoy it with a mesclun salad or organic air-baked Belgian fries.
Just don’t be fooled by Josie’s fast-food outpost, Better Burger, next door. It’s low-rent and low on flavor.
$14.75, Josie’s NYC, 565 Third Ave., at 37th St., Murray Hill; 300 Amsterdam Ave., at 74th St., Upper West Side, www.josiesnyc.com
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