As any third-grader with a globe and a handful of Pixy Stix will tell you, Greenland isn’t actually all that green. And if you’ve ever listened to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, you know that it isn’t just 30 minutes of Brian Wilson doing various animal impressions (although we’d buy that album). Superiority Burger, an East Village spot that’s about the size of a nice walk-in closet, also has a misleading name.
This vegetarian counter-service place has been around since 2015 - and despite the fact that the words “Superiority Burger” are stamped on the wall out front, the signature veggie burger isn’t the best thing here. It isn’t bad, and we’d eat one if it magically appeared in front of us - but the patty is a little too thick, and about as mushy as a John Mayer song or a handful of refried beans. What you really want here are the sides and the desserts.
Side dish options rotate almost every day (you’ll usually find around three), and might include anything from a sweet potato topped with diced pickles to some spicy pink beets with cashew cream. They typically seem like they were tossed together based on whatever the employees felt like eating that morning, and that’s not a bad thing - they’re consistently original and worth ordering. Then there are the sorbets and gelatos: one flavor of each every day, with options like lemongrass labne, polenta anise, pink peppercorn, and strawberry jam. They’re so dense and creamy that you’ll wish they came in tote-bag-sized servings, and leaving without trying them is a mistake as serious as riding on a big boat and never doing the “I’m the king of the world” thing from Titanic.
As for the rest of the food, it’s mostly just fine. Our favorite sandwich is the one with grilled tofu skin and cashew cheese on a little sesame bun (called the “New Creation”), and it’s as messy and rewarding as anything you’d want to eat at 1am on a Saturday night. There’s also a vegetarian sloppy joe - which is good, but a little sweet - as well as a dense and satisfying wrap filled with tofu and rice, which is what you should order when you’re especially hungry.
If you’re a vegetarian, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be a fan of Superiority Burger. And if you’re not a vegetarian, there are still good reasons to come here. Just keep in mind that this place should really be called something like Superiority Gelato. Or maybe Superiority Sides and Frozen Desserts. Less catchy, sure, but it tells you what you need to know.
You’ll see a lot of people ordering this. But you’re an independent-minded person, and you don’t just buy things because they seem popular (except for shoes, clothing, and movies on Amazon). So skip it. The patty is thick and mushy, with a slightly burnt flavor, and it’s only about the size of a single clenched fist.
If you absolutely need a burger, get this one. It’s basically a larger version of the Superiority Burger, but the patty is significantly thinner, which makes the texture less of an issue.
The New Creation isn’t winning any beauty pageants, but it’s the best sandwich here. It’s just a bunch of grilled tofu skin covered in pickles and vegan cheese, and you’re going to get it all over your hands and face while you eat it. You won’t mind.
As you can probably tell from the name, this is a take on sloppy joe. But instead of meat, it has tofu, because Dave is a vegetarian (or something). It’s not bad, but the sauce is a little too sweet, and unless you’re a vegetarian who dreams of sloppy joes every time you’re stopped at a red light, skip it.
Most of the sides change daily, but this one is always on the menu. The broccoli isn’t actually very burnt (if that was a concern of yours), and it comes with candied nuts and peppers on top. It’s fresh and crunchy, and a perfectly good way to eat something green.
The gelato and sorbet flavors change frequently, but whatever you find will be good enough to justify a trip of several miles on foot. The texture is consistently thick and creamy, and the flavors are perfectly balanced.
You never know what sides you’re going to find at Superiority Burger, but we’ve had everything from potato coconut soup to beets with pretzel croutons. There are also some specials on different days of the week - like focaccia on Fridays and a dessert on Tuesdays (usually some kind of cake plus a scoop of gelato). Roll the dice, and try whatever’s available.