Vegan is the hottest genre of food right now, and we’ve been taking some real strides toward a better veggie burger. But nothing could truly imitate a beef burger - until now.
The Impossible Burger is being backed by no less than Momofuku king David Chang, who is now serving it at his newest restaurant Nishi. It’s still technically a veggie burger, but you wouldn’t know it: Impossible Foods Inc. has spent $80 million over five years to figure out what makes meat delicious, essentially, and how to get a plant-based patty that smells, cooks and even bleeds like the real deal, and Nishi is the first restaurant to serve it.
But it needed the touch of a chef who knows what to do with meat, and Chang's pork buns remain legendary long after his empire has grown well being the East Village. "Under David’s skilled hand, the Impossible Burger is moving to the next level of taste,” says Patrick O. Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods.
“I was genuinely blown away when I tasted the burger,” Chang says. “The Impossible Foods team has discovered how to re-engineer what makes beef taste like beef.”
Except there’s not a single animal involved. The Impossible Burger is made with wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and leghemoglobin, or heme, the plant protein that gives the patty its juiciness and beefy taste. The patty's protein and iron content is similar to that of beef, without any cholesterol or the hormones and antibiotics that most cattle are treated with.
The Impossible Burger also has some serious sustainable cred, requiring less water and land to grow and creating fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
So what’s the verdict? The Post’s Steve Cuozzo didn’t think much of the patty, calling it “scarcely more bogus-beef quality than that of common veggie burgers made from grains and legumes.” But he appears to be in the minority. Edible Manhattan’s Alicia Kennedy admitted she wanted to hate it, yet writes , “I am 90 percent certain I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t beef.” The Observer found a middle ground: “I can’t say it was the most delicious burger I’ve eaten in my life, but it was very good and far surpassed my expectations.”
The Impossible Burger costs $12 (though that may come down in the future to even below beef prices, the company says). It comes topped with romaine lettuce, beefsteak tomato, pickles and a house special sauce on a potato roll.
The faux meat will also be available as a patty melt — as for other meat media, Grubstreet says while Chang experimented with it in everything from sausages to dumplings, he’s decided Impossible’s “meat” is best suited to the sandwich format.
Get them during during brunch, lunch and dinner, if you can: