100 Favorite Dishes 2014-15: No. 81, Daughter-in-Law Burger at Natachee's Supper 'n Punch

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Even carnivores will dig this hearty burger.
Once again, Kaitlin Steinberg is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes as we work our way toward our annual Menu of Menus® issue and culinary extravaganza. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian.

Whenever you order a veggie burger at a restaurant for the first time, there's always the risk that the patty will be a dry, dense hockey puck of a thing, devoid of flavor save for a sort of grainy cardboard essence.

This is not the case at Natachee's Supper 'n Punch, where the Daughter-in-Law burger features a meat-free patty made with black beans, corn, bell peppers and oats. It's all that a veggie burger could ever aspire to be--rich, flavorful and just as satisfying (if not more so) than a traditional beef burger.

The patties, which are positively massive, are the stars of this burger show, though the toppings--lettuce, tomato, red onion, jack cheese and creamy guacamole--play an integral role in the burger as a whole. A soft, buttery toasted buns hold the whole thing together, at least initially. Eventually, the giant patty is bound to crumble a bit as it hangs precipitously over the edges of the bun. It's a knife and fork kind of meal.

The mixture of mashed and whole black beans, yellow corn, roasted red bell peppers, cilantro and oats, which act as a binding agent, has a vaguely Tex-Mex feel to it. Combine that with the slightly spicy guacamole spread across the top bun (who needs ketchup or mayo?), and you have a hybrid veggie burger and Tex-Mex burger, perfect for those craving a little heat but not a little meat.

I did find myself adding a little hot sauce to my burger, but that's a product of my upbringing (my parents fed me spicy food from a very young age, so now nothing is ever hot enough) more than a shortcoming of the burger. A friend who tried my burger on one occasion told me to stop messing it up with too much Crystal hot sauce. To each his own.

One final recommendation, if I may: The fried pickles. I imagine anyone who's been to Natachee's before has tried the much-lauded fried pickles, but if you haven't sub them for fries with your burger. The thin, peppery batter and crisp, vinegary pickles are an ideal match with that delicious burger.

The list so far:
No. 82, Chiles en Nogada Tradicionales at Pico's Mex-Mex
No. 83, Porkobuco at Brooklyn Athletic Club
No. 84, Chai Pie at Pondicheri
No. 85, Tacos at Taqueria Maya Quiché
No. 86, S'mores at 13 Celsius
No. 87, Calamari at Lillo & Ella
No. 88, Pulled Pork Nachos at Way Good Food Truck
No. 89, Garden Sammie at Local Foods
No. 90, Barbecued Salmon Salad at Brooks Family BBQ
No. 91, Smoked Salmon Waffle at The Waffle Bus
No. 92, Chirashi Lunch at Sushi Miyagi
No. 93, Finocchiona Sandwich at Siphon Coffee
No. 94, Combo Catracho at Mi Bella Honduras Restaurant
No. 95, Tamal de Puerco at Andes Cafe
No. 96, Cheeseburger at Sparkle's Hamburger Spot
No. 97, Mi Quang at Simply Pho
No. 98, Helado de Lúcuma at Pollo Bravo
No. 99, Fat Fries at Fat Bao
No. 100, Fish Bánh Mì at La Baguette


Location Info

Natachee's Supper 'n Punch

3622 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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21 comments
WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

I've had a few veggie burgers and none satisfied as a sandwich, let alone a replacement for a beef/buffalo/name-your-meat burger.  Got to admit overlooking this selection when at Natachee's.  Based on the success of their other entrees, I'll have to try one of these days.

IMHO ... the term "burger" has referred to the method of preparation ( coarsely ground ingredients, formed into a patty and fried/broiled/etc) rather than the ingredients themselves.  To each his/her own interpretation.

Jenni A Castañeda
Jenni A Castañeda

Yay! Ps. you should follow this food blog! I get the latest news on food updates sent right to my news feed! hahaha

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

A veggie burger doesn't ever belong in a Top 100 list.  and yes, I've had this burger before.  It is good for a veggie burger, but doesn't even stand ground with any decent burger from the dozen's of local joints in this town.


What was your reasoning for putting this here?

Jenni A Castañeda
Jenni A Castañeda

Kelly, does this veggie burger seem appealing to your tastebuds? We should check it out after our next food adventure!

Bruce_Are
Bruce_Are topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard 

 "It's all that a veggie burger could ever aspire to be--rich, flavorful and just as satisfying (if not more so) than a traditional beef burger."

According to KS this veggie burger might even be better than the kind made with beef. Apparently the jury is still out. I have not had it, but it would be the first veggie burger in the history of the universe to be better than an average beef burger.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@Bruce_Are @FattyFatBastard I maintain it's just as satisfying cause it totally fills me up, and I don't feel I'm missing out on anything. It's only more satisfying if I'm thinking about being healthy (which I do a lot) and compare this to something like a Juicy Lucy. Of course, when you add in the fried pickles...

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@Bruce_Are The Burger competition that had this veggie burger  involved in 2012 agreed with you.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@KaitlinSteinberg  See, the problem with this statement is that isn't correct; at least not by folks who had this in the burger competition where it was put up against other burgers and solidly trounced by them.  8 people had this veggie burger in that competition, and zero of them thought it had any business being involved with other burgers.  

It is a good "veggie" burger.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  The fact that it is now being touted yet again here points to something else going on...

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard @KaitlinSteinberg But this isn't a list of 100 favorite burgers. It's a list of 100 favorite dishes. A veggie burger--this veggie burger--happens to be one of my favorite dishes. There will be beef burgers later in the list. I wouldn't put this in a burger competition with beef burgers, but I would put it on a list of dishes based on my own, personal opinion. 


Also, if you read the little italicized graph at the top, these are "dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian."


I think veggie burgers are indicative of the changing food scene, as more and more people are opting to go vegan or vegetarian (not my choice, but whatever). And I think the combo of Tex-Mex flavors in a veggie burger is a pretty Houstonian thing to do. Oh yeah, and there it is again: Personal favorites. My personal favorites. No one ever claimed Jim had to approve of every selection. Maybe next year we'll add that to the criteria.



mifflin
mifflin

@FattyFatBastard @gunther Maybe that you are not a rational person, but still adhere to rules, like beef burgers MUST be better than veggie burgers. But that you are also open to new surprises, miracles as you might call them. 

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@KaitlinS @FattyFatBastard @KaitlinSteinberg But when you call a menu item a burger,  it is naturally going to be compared to other burgers.  And you did it yourself.  "rich, flavorful and just as satisfying (if not more so) than a traditional beef burger."  I'm not putting these words here; you are.  And when that happens, I feel it necessary for other readers to know that you are in the vast minority (11% of the 9 that had it) to think it compares to even the most blase of burgers.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@mifflin @FattyFatBastard @gunther Well, when we were selected to do the burger competition Katharine Shilcutt had us try 4 of the top veggie burgers according to her.  Of the 4 we agreed that Natachee's and Beaver's had the best ones, but that they all paled in comparison to, say, a Whataburger.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@KaitlinSteinberg @FattyFatBastard @KaitlinS What a pointless, trite response.  I gave you a valid reply.  Respond in kind, or don't bother.

KaitlinSteinberg
KaitlinSteinberg

@FattyFatBastard It seems pointless to argue with you, as your argument doesn't make sense. I answered your question: It's on the list because it's a list of my favorite dishes, and this is one of them. 

If you're annoyed that it's called a burger, take that up with Natachee's or whoever coined the term veggie burger. The fact that I find it equally or more satisfying than a beef burger speaks to my tastes, not yours, and not whoever else was judging this burger bracket a few years back.  

I think the fact that this is my opinion (minority or not) is already made pretty clear to the readers. I also think you're really selling the readers short by implying that they are naturally going to compare it to a beef burger--like they're too stupid to know it's not going to taste like beef. There's a difference between being as satisfying as a beef burger and tasting like a beef burger. 

Now are we going to debate this all day, or can we both more on to more useful and productive things?

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