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Foodie Corner

The Impossible Burger Lands In South Florida, And Yes, It’s Impossibly Good

It wasn’t easy to try the meatless, highly touted Impossible Burger. The only place to sell it in Broward and Palm Beach counties is Fort Lauderdale’s Green Bar & Kitchen, and they’ve been having trouble keeping it in stock.

But I planned it out, ate an early lunch and called in a takeout order before the dinner rush on the most talked-about food item in recent memory. It came in a see-through plastic container, looking like nothing more than your average backyard burger.

Since it became widely available last year, the Impossible Burger has been endlessly written about, Instagrammed and chased by foodies, who trade tips on how to find it. 

Like the rollout of the newest tech gadget, the company behind the veggie-based patty haven’t kept up with demand, making the Impossible Burger that much more impossible to find. The company, Impossible Foods, has also released it in a way that is unique among food products. Instead of trying to stock it in supermarkets, the company sells it only to restaurants.

Impossible Foods has raised $250 million in startup money, and in just over a year, has gone from a single restaurant to hundreds across the country. This has all happened despite the fact that the burgers are made from an ingredient that has raised regulatory issues, and at least one environmental group is calling for the patty to be pulled off the market until the company can prove it’s safe. 

While questions persist, rave reviews pour in, and those who try it not knowing it’s vegetarian have been tricked into thinking it’s actually meat

About a dozen restaurants in the state sell it, and among them are just three in South Florida: Green Bar, The Juice Café & Terrace at The Standard on Miami Beach and MC Kitchen.

Chef Dena Marino of MC Kitchen first had one last year at Michael Symon’s burger restaurant, B Spot. “I think it’s pretty awesome, to be honest with you,” Marino says. “It’s insane how the juices run from it.” 

It took her about a month to convince the distributor to let her sell it. Now, it’s on her lunch menu and on the bar menu all day. She serves hers with lettuce, tomato, a slice of fontina and a house-made brioche bun. She tricked her 10-year-old into thinking it was a beef burger, and now her husband often orders it instead of the real thing.

At Green Bar, the Impossible Burger sells for $11 and comes dressed like a traditional cheeseburger: Kaiser bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and vegan mayo and cheese. 

Unlike most veggie burgers, which typically taste and feel like falafel or black bean patties, the Impossible Burger promises to mimic meat, right down to its pink center. Before the first bite, it certainly looks the part, with an edge caramelized to just-crispy on a cooktop.

Bite into it and the Impossible Burger crumbles and tears, the texture of a lightly packed beef burger, similar to the patty at Shake Shack. The edges are definitely crispy, reminiscent of a Midwestern butter burger. The taste is immediately meaty, salty and deeply umami. There’s no odd aftertaste like with some veggie burgers, nothing that seems phony or manufactured. Just beefy and, let’s be blunt here, delicious.

Unquestionably, you could trick someone into thinking this was a beef burger. And quite possibly, you could claim it’s among the best burgers you’ve ever had. Not just the best veggie burger ever, but maybe just your favorite cheeseburger. 

It seems that yes, Impossible Burger actually does live up to its name. 

Photo courtesy of Eric Barton

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