The future is here, and the form it is taking is in a meatless bleeding burger. The much-hyped superfood from Impossible Foods is a vegan version of the typical American beef patty, down to the crisp outside and bloody interior. After raising $183 million in funding, it’s now making its San Francisco debut at Jardinière and Cockscomb.
The burger mimics meat’s taste mainly using heme, a molecule found in hemoglobin (a component of blood), as well as in certain plants. Potatoes are used for the crunchy exterior, and coconut oil for its fat. As a result, the burger cuts down on the negative environmental impact of raising cattle. Impossible Burger founder Pat Brown says that producing one of the burgers uses only one quarter of the water to produce a beef burger, and one twentieth the land area. The mission, says Brown, is “to replace animals globally with a system to make more nutritious, healthier foods for the world.”
As part of that mission, Jardinière chef/owner Traci Des Jardins is a consulting chef at Impossible Foods, and has developed recipes for the burger, settling on a version topped with avocado slices, mashed avocado, caramelized onions, tomato, gem lettuce, and vegan dijonnaise on a potato bun that she’s been previewing at the restaurant this summer. Now, it will be a permanent addition to her menu in the bar and lounge daily after 7:30 p.m. for $16.
“The burger speaks for itself,” says Des Jardins, who plans to serve only the Impossible Burger on her menu, with no beef alternative. “Probably 85 percent of the people who taste it wouldn’t know the difference.”
As for Cockscomb, famous meat lover and chef/owner Chris Cosentino has developed his own version, which will be available for lunch weekdays for $19. “This is the next step forward,” Cosentino told Eater. “We’ve seen adaptations of meatless burgers, but there’s nothing else that you can cook from start to finish.” The chef says he’s tried the meat substitute in everything from tartare to ragu, and it holds up. And at the end of the day, it all falls under the idea of sustainability that his whole-animal restaurant already relies upon; he and Des Jardins hope to one day extend the philosophy to their contributions to No Kid Hungry, using leftover vegetable proteins in school lunch programs.
The meatless wonder hits Jardinière and Cockscomb menus on Thursday, October 13. It’s also launching on the menu of Los Angeles’ Crossroads restaurant, and is currently on the menu of chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in New York; if all goes as planned, the product will hit retail shelves in the near future.
Check out an inside look at how the burger is made from Eater’s sister site Recode below: