One Dish: The mushroom burger from Madison’s Green Owl Cafe – Isthmus

Sandwiched between the Ideal Bar and Alchemy on Atwood Avenue, Green Owl Cafe works its own form of alchemy, transforming plant-based ingredients into savory, satisfying dishes that non-vegans can appreciate too. Dishes like the jackfruit burrito and BB Bowl with black beans and sweet potatoes are hearty and filling. But the most satisfying for me is the mushroom burger with fries. (I get it with dairy cheese; all dishes at Green Owl are vegan, but some do have dairy options.)

My never-quite-successful forays into vegetarianism have left me eating meat just a few days a week, and beef rarely — but sometimes I just want a burger and fries. Green Owl’s mushroom burger features a house-made patty made from quinoa and rice, caramelized onions, mushrooms, garlic aioli, and melted provolone or cashew cheez. Somehow it manages to replicate the greasy indulgence of an all-red-meat burger, as skeptical as I can be about vegan versions of meat dishes.

I like to take a walk over to the cafe, which is near the Capital City trail, for lunch or dinner. Green Owl is great for folks like me looking to dabble in vegetarianism or veganism, but not able or willing to take the plunge completely.

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