Washington’s top chefs have a history of getting creative with their burgers, going back to when Michel Richard crafted lobster patties at Citronelle and Central. We’re big fans of José Andrés’s contribution to the off-beat burger mix, especially Jaleo’s “mini-hamburgesas” made with pork from Spanish acorn-fed pigs. Good news for vegans: his best yet, served at Beefsteak, involves no animal products at all.
We know, anyone skeptical of veggie “burgers” in the first place won’t consider a thick-cut tomato a proper substitute for beef. Don’t be fooled, the Beefsteak burger delivers all the juiciness of a classic arm-dripper. The kitchen blanches, peels, and slices peak-of-season tomatoes into fat rounds, and sprinkles sea salt to release the fruit’s juices and intensify its sweet flavor. The richness typically delivered by fat and cheese comes in the form of sliced avocado (optional), an olive oil brioche bun from Panorama Bakery, and vegan mayonnaise—thankfully not the sad stuff, but a flavorful version perked up with capers and herbs. Pickled red onions add extra zing to the mix.
The best part: Andrés’s new creation costs just a few cents more than a Big Mac, going for $4.99 (avocado runs extra). Unlike a McDonald’s patty, the tomato burger won’t be around forever—or even once summer is gone.