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Burger Review: ‘Impossible Burger’ was impossible to enjoy

(Tom Amato, KTTH)

I’m on a mission to find the best burger in the city of Seattle. I travel to various burger joints within city limits and rate the establishment’s most popular burger on a scale of 1-10. Of all the measures I use, taste is most important.

This week I tried something different and went to Blue Moon Burgers on Cap Hill. One of their signature menu items is called, “The Official Burger of Planet Earth,” which is made with the “Impossible Burger.”

Basically, the Impossible Burger patty is a type of plant-based patty that you can substitute for the meat on any burger on their menu. It’s specifically designed to come on “The Official Burger of Planet Earth,” so that’s why I ordered it.

An important thing to note before I jump into my review is that there was definitely a mental block when eating this burger. I had never had a non-meat, plant-based burger before, and was apprehensive in my approach, not knowing what to expect.

Henry’s Tavern (Bellevue) is my favorite burger yet

It’s also important to note that I am not, nor will I ever be, a vegan or vegetarian. This burger may taste different to those who are. But I tried to keep an open mind during consumption for the sake of journalism — burger journalism. So here it goes.

It looks like a poor-man’s burger, so it passes the initial eye-test. Unfortunately, that’s where the comparisons to meat-based burgers end. Don’t be fooled by the ads, the staffers or vegetarian blogs: It does not taste like meat. I can’t emphasize that enough.

It’s a thin patty that’s not exactly crispy, but tough and hardened on the outside. It’s made with a protein called heme. Heme is an essential molecule found in every living plant and animal. Essentially, it’s what gives meat its flavor. It’s made via fermentation of genetically engineered yeast.

I can’t find something comparable, but the closest I can think of is an iron-like taste. Imagine what it would taste like if you were to lick an old, rusty metal pole. I found it odd that every bite seemed to have a different flavor level; some parts were more metallic than others.

It also had a lingering after-taste that I personally couldn’t stand, and was probably the main reason I didn’t finish the burger. In speaking with an employee, he compared it to the taste of suckling pork. I’m not sure I agree with that.

“The Official Burger of Planet Earth” comes with the Impossible Burger patty, mayo, tomato, pickled red onions, lettuce, and a brioche bun. It’s a very wet meal, as the vegetables were drippy and soaked the bun, which somehow held together.

The brioche bun was one of the two highlights of the meal, acting as a savior, and the only part of the burger that was bearable. I wasn’t a fan of the pickled red onions; they looked funny, perhaps more purple than what I was expecting.

One of the cooks told me to order the burger with cheese next time, and if there were to be a next time (there won’t be), I would. The fries were good and helped me make it as far as I did.

In talking with one of the employees — the same one who compared the plant-based burger to suckling pork — he told me that his vegetarian friends hated the burger because it tasted too much like real meat. That makes me wonder: If vegetarians and omnivores dislike the burger, who does like it? And do all veggie burgers taste like this?

“The world of veggie burgers is surprisingly complicated,” Michael Medved, KTTH host and known veggie-burger enthusiast told me.

Medved said there are two questions you have to ask before eating a veggie burger: Is it vegan, or does it have dairy in it? And is it certified kosher — not necessarily in regards to being blessed by a rabbi — but has it been inspected for what it actually contains?

“There’s a great line of veggie burgers that offers a bunch of different products that are delicious,” Medved said. “The line that I like is Morningstar Farms.”

Medved points out they have a number of “Grillers” products, including a “Grillers Prime” that he said tastes like prime rib.

“They have a new product … that’s called the ‘Meat Lovers Vegan Burger,’” Medved said. “That’s actually just about the best veggie burger I’ve found.”

Just like anything else, there’s good and bad plant-based/veggie/vegan burgers out there. While noting that vegans/vegetarians may have a different approach to this burger, I think it’s not worth the $14 you’re spending, which is already expensive.

Biggest strength(s): Bun.

Biggest weakness(s): Iron taste, onions, poor resemblance of meat, blatantly false advertisement, price, surplus of random moisture.

It’s important to note that this burger review isn’t necessarily a reflection of Blue Moon Burgers; it’s a reflection specifically on the Impossible Burger. This plant-based burger doesn’t taste good. Don’t spend money on it. However, make sure you check out the other burgers on Blue Moon’s menu. They have tons of options and something you’re bound to like.

While one can argue it’s unfair to give an official rating, it’s part of my job. “The Official Burger of Planet Earth” gets a 1/10.

What do you think of the Impossible Burger? Are there better plant-based burgers out there? Where should I go next? Tweet me, @NewProducerTom on Twitter.

Past reviews: 8 Oz. Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill Burgers (7.5,10), Henry’s Tavern in Bellevue (9/10)

Past reviews: 8 OZ. Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill (7.5/10), Henry’s Tavern (Bellevue) (9/10).

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