Even if you don't eat meat, you can still have a great burger experience with these three vegetarian variations.
HOUSTON'S , 630 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-873-1454
The veggie burger at this Roosevelt Field chain restaurant is top-notch. Smoky and caramelized on the outside, it's made with brown rice, black beans, oat bran and beets, brushed with sweet soy sauce and grilled over hardwood before going onto a butter-grilled bun with Jack cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, tomato, onion, lettuce and pickle. On the side: couscous or shoestring fries. ($16 dinner, $15 lunch)
BROWNSTONE BREWING COMPANY , 200 Portion Rd., Ronkonkoma, 631-588-1135
Sweet potato and spinach are the main ingredients in the very good veggie burger served at this lively brew pub. Sharing the plate are fries and slaw ($10.95 dinner, $8.95 lunch)
THE PIT STOP, 1706 Sunrise Hwy., Merrick, 516-223-7799
This ultracasual spot serves a fine house-made veggie burger done with lots of bright, fresh vegetables -- zucchini, yellow squash, onions, eggplant and broccoli -- bound by egg whites and a small amount of bread crumbs. ($7, $10 with fries and a drink)
With a bright, contemporary look punctuated with a pop of graffiti art, this new burger joint offers a savory surprise with its dirty veggie burger. It's topped with curry mayonnaise, avocado and lemon vinaigrette-dressed greens.