Please The Palate Pick of the Week: The Impossible Burger at Umami Burger

I am an omnivore. I like food. I do not restrict myself and jump on trendy bandwagons of “no gluten”, “no dairy” or “no meat”. And as much as I love vegetables, I do not like the idea of meat replacements. In fact, when I went to the launch of a new product this week and they said it was about “using science for the creation of their product”, I found those words concerning and unnatural. But, then they brought out the Impossible Burger, a meatless burger that is now available at nine Umami Burgers, as well as at 10 other restaurants across the country, I was wowed. It looked just like a hamburger but in fact, it is a vegetarian burger for meat lovers. And that is why it is the Please The Palate “pick of the week.”

Impossible Foods was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D. Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in Stanford University’s Biochemistry Department and a 40-year vegetarian. Brown wants to make the global food system more sustainable. He explained that cows are the “most destructive technology on earth.” People love to eat beef but cows will do irreparable damage to the earth as they produce emissions. As a result, Brown is focused on producing meat and dairy products from plants, which have a lower environmental footprint. In fact, the Impossible Burger uses 1/8 of greenhouse gasses, 1/20 of the land and will reduce water consumption by one billion gallons per year.

Doing what is good for the environment is the right thing to do. But what if you just love the taste of a good burger? That is what Brown understood when creating the Impossible Burger. He knew that he had to make products that are uncompromisingly delicious. He takes the simple things from nature and combines them with human ingenuity and the result is the greater sum of its parts.

The impossible burger is made entirely from plants. Ingredients are wheat and potato proteins, coconut oil, xanthan, konjac, vitamins, amino acids, sugars and leghemogloblin (“heme) which is a natural molecule found in both plants and animals that gives the meat its “meaty” flavor.

And the result looks and tastes like meat! Launched this week, all Umami Burger locations are serving the Impossible Burger. Known for their burgers, Umami Burger has put their own touch on the burger. They sear two patties with umami dust and master sauce and put them on a Portuguese bun with American cheese, caramelized onions, miso mustard, house spread, bibb lettuce, pickles and tomatoes.

It is not dense and dry like many garden burgers. Like a real meat burger, the Impossible Burger caramelizes on the edges and a nice crust is formed. And, I will admit that it was very much like real hamburger meat and might even fool some!

Impossible Food’s plan is to completely replace animals as a food technology and produce products that can compete on taste, price and health. So whether you do not eat meat, are trying to cut back on meat, want to do something good for the environment or just want to try something different, head to an Umami Burger and try the Impossible Burger. You might just agree that it is almost impossible to tell the difference.

The Impossible Burger can also be found in the following restaurants from New York to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas:
Momofuku Nishi (New York)
Cockscomb (San Francisco)
Jardiniere (San Francisco)
Crossroads Kitchen (LA)
Momojuku Ssam Bar (New York)
Public, The Daily (New York)
Saxon + Parole (
Bareburger, La Guardia Place (New York)
KronnerBurger (Oakalnd, CA)
Public House (San Francisco)
Vina Enoteca (Palo Alto, CA)
Andrea’s at Wynn (Las Vegas, NV)
Umami Burger (Los Angeles)