Michael Jordan had to get by the Pistons to get his first championships. Roger Federer had to conquer the French Open to become the greatest tennis player of all time. And Bobby Flay had to vanquish a foe he’d avoided to move up the ladder of culinary mastery: the veggie burger.
The Iron Chef is almost impossible to beat on his Food Network TV show Beat Bobby Flay, on which two chefs compete against each other while making a dish with a featured ingredient of Flay’s choosing. The challenger gets to choose his or her signature dish for the final battle. Flay has won with dishes as wide-ranging as Korean shortribs and bangers and mash. Beef Wellington couldn’t take him down, nor could Thai green curry. But Flay, whose successful chain Bobby’s Burger Palace has an outpost at CityCenter on the Strip, has always been a meat man. So the chances of defeating chef Daniel Angerer—a man so out there he once served cheese made with his wife’s breast milk—in a veggie burger throwdown seemed bleak for Bobby.
But the celebrity chef prevailed. “I came up with three ingredients that I wanted to use—quinoa, crushed chickpeas, and barbecued mushrooms—[and] put them together, almost like a Southern, smoky, Carolina feel.” The dish also featured smoked gouda cheese, coleslaw and mustard barbecue sauce.
A modified version has hit the menu at the Palace, with American cheese instead of gouda plus peppery kale and red pepper chipotle mayo. The mushrooms are the standout, giving both barbecue taste and meaty mouthfeel. It’s a veggie burger worthy of an Iron Chef. Bobby’s Burger Palace at 3750 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-598-0191; daily 11 a.m.-midnight.