Three restaurants in California have started selling Impossible Foods’ planted-based burger, with two of them located in San Francisco. French spot Jardinière in Hayes Valley and American eatery Cockscomb in SoMa have both elected to add the experimental food product to their menus.
Beginning today, the $19 burger at Cockscomb is available for lunch Monday through Friday and comes served with caramelized onions, lettuce, gruyere cheese, grandma Helen’s pickles, dijon mustard and mixed greens.
Also available today is the $16 burger from Jardinière, which is available nightly after 7:30 pm in the bar and lounge. It comes with caramelized onion, avocado, special sauce, and a side of pommes frites.
Impossible Burgers are made from a handful of ingredients, including wheat protein, potato protein and coconut oil. Textured wheat and potato proteins form the ground base with flecks of coconut oil mixed in. The flecks stay solid until it makes contact with the frying pan and begins to melt similar to beef fat.
The true differentiation of the Impossible Burger is its secret ingredient, an iron-containing molecule called leghemoglobin or “heme” for short. By genetically modifying yeast to produce heme, the company successfully created a “bloody” burger that’s pink when raw and turns brown when it’s cooked. The burger has been truly bio-engineered to mimic the taste, smell, and mouth-feel of beef.
“The goal is to turn plants into meat much more sustainably and efficiently,” said Impossible Foods founder and CEO Pat Brown.
“All the amino acids and the heme that come together in the taste, that’s what got me,” explained Cockscomb Restaurant chef Chris Cosentino when asked why his restaurant wants to sell the burger.
What’s most impressive about the Impossible burger is not the taste, but the light impact on the environment. Creating this burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% fewer greenhouse gas emissions when compared to cattle-raised beef. Eventually, the company’s burger will cost less than hamburger patties at the grocery store.
The Impossible burger made its official East Coast debut earlier this summer at chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in New York City. Impossible Foods plans to launch in more restaurants later this year and is thinking beyond the burger. The company has created prototypes of other meat and dairy products.