The problem with ordering a veggie burger in so many restaurants is that the people in charge of preparing it just don't seem to care. Maybe they're heartless carnivores, maybe they have more important things on their minds, or maybe they're just mystified as to why anyone would order a burger minus the meat. And, yes, alternapatties can be weird things, made up of all variety of exotic ingredients from textured soy protein to lentils. (Picture a low-paid burger flipper skeptically examining a sizzling veggie burger a safe distance from the grill: "How can you tell if it's done-I mean, it's always brown.")
Prepared with a little attention and care, however, veggie burgers can be really, really good-and Dougherty's takes the job seriously. Their vegetarian version of the classic pub burger is substantial and tender, with a pleasantly nutty flavor and meaty texture. Add an order of Dougherty's admirable fresh-cut French fries and we're talking a meal that will make you forget all about missing the "ham" in hamburger.