It smells, sizzles and tastes like a burger, but a burger it is not — at least not in the traditional sense.
It’s called the Impossible Burger, the vegetarian alternative that bleeds like beef. The 100 percent plant-based patty is made from simple, all-natural ingredients including wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. This short list alone doesn’t differentiate the Impossible Burger from its conventional veggie counterparts. The magic is in heme.
Heme is an iron compound found in meat that gives it qualities carnivores love: the smell, rich taste and juiciness. California food company Impossible Foods has taken heme from plants and injected into the Impossible Burger for a taste that’s virtually indistinguishable from a traditional patty.
You’ll be seeing it a lot in 2018. Top chefs from across the nation and locally are singing its praises.
Chef Greg Ling of Industry Standard in Greenport described the meaty alternative as “mind-blowing” after he first sunk his teeth into at Chef David Chang’s Momofuku in the city over the summer. He introduced the sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly burger to the Front Street restaurant on Wednesday to a similar reaction from customers. Of the 16 burgers Ling sold Wednesday, 11 were Impossible Burgers.
“It was interesting, because everyone who ordered it was … not particularly health conscientious people — and I am speaking as a fat guy,” Ling said with a laugh, noting that the Impossible appeals to his vegan clientele as well as restaurant’s loyal $5 burger crowd. “This burger is really geared toward meat-eaters. And I’ll be the first to say, I am getting a little older, I am 40. If I could eat three times less meat a week, but have it taste like I am, that’s not bad.”
The Industry Standard Impossible Burger is topped with dijonaise, onion, pickles, vegan or American cheese.
“We kept it as minimal as possible, so you can taste the patty,” Ling said. “It really doesn’t need a lot.”
The Impossible Burger adds to Industry Standard’s growing list of vegan offerings, including a vegan cheesesteak and “damn damn noodles.” Ling also plans on rolling out other Impossible menu items like dumplings and spring rolls in the coming weeks.
He’s not the only one pulling off the impossible. Nearby Lucharitos in Greenport and Little Lucharitos in Aquebogue are slated to serve up the Impossible Taco in the near future.
“We have a big vegetarian base,” said owner Marc LaMaina. “Anything new and exciting is always a plus. But this is a cutting-edge product that has many benefits and we want to share it.”