Let’s face it: beef is delicious but it is not good for the environment. It’s a conundrum for conscientious carnivores who enjoy the taste of a perfectly grilled quarter pounder as much as they enjoy not spontaneously combusting because of climate change. That’s why people like Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. of Impossible Foods has spent, by his estimate, nearly $80 million developing a plant-based ground beef substitute that looks and feels like the real thing, and aims to win over both red meat lovers and vegetarians who still get a little drooly thinking about bygone burgers. It’s not the only “bleeding” meat-free patty on the market, but while its competitor Beyond Meat earned notoriety for selling out at Whole Foods in an hour, Impossible Burgers are getting a major endorsement in the restaurant realm from Momofuku’s David Chang.
As of Wednesday July 27th, the Impossible Burger will be available (in limited daily supply) on the menu at Chang’s Momofuku Nishi where it will be available as the house burger and in a patty melt style dish. Part of Impossible Foods’ goal is to keep the cost of their faux meat down near the same price as organic ground chuck, and that comparable price is reflected in the Nishi version’s price tag of only $12 with fries. Brown explained that each quarter pound patty saves about a 10-minute shower’s worth of water, 18 automobile miles and 75 square feet of land usage compared to a typical beef burger. Yes, that’s each patty, so if these burgers end up taking off, it could add up to quite an impact on the ecosystem.