In a previous post, I wrote a detailed review of the Impossible Burger and one of the few places to find it in Charlotte, NC – Duckworth’s.
My review of the Impossible Burger was mostly positive. (Yes, I am aware an ingredient in the burger was tested on animals, but most new ingredients are. I don’t shun Gardein, for example, just because it has pea protein. I totally respect those who choose not to eat the Impossible Burger, but I still think it’s a quality product and an excellent option for many people.)
I was just a bit disappointed because the Impossible Burger has been so heavily marketed and sensationalized as “the burger that bleeds,” yet our burgers only had the faintest tinge of pink. Nothing shocking.
My view of Duckworth’s was also mostly positive – very clean; fast, friendly service; overall general good quality of food. The one glitch was that we kept being reassured, over and over, than the default bun for the Impossible Burger was vegan, no dairy – that if we ordered the burger without mayo, the whole burger was “100% vegan.” Unfortunately, that was not so – only the onion bun is vegan. Duckworth’s responded quickly to my inquiries/complaints, though, immediately implementing staff training on special diets and allergies. They also implemented a Build Your Own Burger (similar to their Build Your Own Salad) in August. I gotta give them huge props for management response!
How did things go on our return visit?
Obviously training had been done. I was torn between outright ordering my burger with the onion bun or playing dumb and testing the waitperson on her knowledge. As I was deciding, my partner impatiently spoke up. “I’ll have the Impossible Burger, cooked medium!”
Our perky blonde waitperson Elena immediately responded, “And would you like the regular bun with that or the vegan onion bun?” My partner answered onion bun. Elena chirped, “Oh, so you’re doing it vegan-style! I’m guessing you’ll want to skip the Impossible Sauce!” Clearly, this woman was much more knowledgable that our previous waitpeople.
I ordered my burger rare, because I really wanted to see it bleed. (I know, it’s gross, but it’s all the press has been talking about and I wanted to see it for myself.)
The burgers were brought as ordered on the onion buns. To me, the onion buns were delicious and much better than the regular Impossible buns. They also seemed bigger and I swear it seemed like Duckworth’s made the patties a little bigger, to fit the bun. A little more junk in the trunk.
Standard Impossible Burger size is said to 3 oz.; at Duckworth’s it’s said to be 5 oz. I’m really not sure our burgers were 5 oz. the first two trips.
Like I said, I ordered my burger rare. IT STILL DIDN’T BLEED, but it looked enough like uncooked meat to be faintly disgusting. I wouldn’t recommend ordering it rare – although it looks more like meat, the texture is actually more realistic if the burger is cooked medium or medium-well.
Flash forward to our next visit, taking an omnivore friend in tow. My partner confidently ordered his burger “vegan style.” I was more specific, “Onion roll, no sauce.” I saw our waitperson write it down. Yet, when the burgers came out … non-vegan Impossible Buns again!
Now, this time the breakdown apparently happened in the kitchen – kitchen staff throwing food together quickly and not reading the orders. And, I realize many times the same person who takes your order may not be the one bringing you your food, so I’m not faulting our waitperson. It’s just proof you need to be on your toes.
So … This is what the buns you want look like (oh, get your mind out of the gutter, people, I’m talking hamburger buns, not David Beckham or Beyonce.)
And this is what the buns you DON’T want look like. These buns have been confirmed to have dairy, which I’m allergic to, and I’m guessing by the shininess they have an egg wash on top as well. If your waitperson brings you these, tell them to literally and figuratively march their buns right back to the kitchen and bring you an onion roll instead, which is exactly what I did.
They fixed our order pretty quickly, and the manager even came out to apologize and offer us their Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard, which is
vegan NOT VEGAN and pairs excellently with their onion roll.
Final note: We dined with a friend of ours, Pete. He’s Irish like us and a native New Yorker, a senior, from a family of cops, very much an omnivore/carnivore and quite set in his ways (but still the sweetest guy). I cut him off a large chunk of my Impossible Burger to try.
“I can tell it’s not beef,” he said, chewing thoughtfully. “But, it’s not bad. It’s a good sammich. I’d eat this sammich. I’d order this sammich.”
And then there’s the Build Your Own Burger, which is similar to Duckworth’s Build Your Own Salad. I’ll have to review that later, because that’s a great option for vegans who want to avoid anything too meat-like. But here’s the slip for the burger. I’ve highlighted vegan options in yellow, and placed a dot next to a few I think probably are – but I haven’t completely verified. Edited 9/23/18 – The Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard, which we were told was vegan, actually IS NOT VEGAN. A different manager brought us the plastic squeeze bottle (usually it is portioned out in tiny metal cups) and there on the label we read, “Honey.” We had to educate that most vegans do not consider honey vegan.
If you are interested in trying the Impossible Burger, I suggest trying it while they still have their Wednesday night $10 Craft Burger & Brew special. As you see by the slip, a burger is $10.99, upgrade to Impossible + $5.00, and onion roll +$1.00 = $16.99.
Impossible Burgers are now in over 1,000 restaurants and poised to go global.
500,000 pounds of plant-based meat are produced per month — enough to feed Impossible Burgers to 2 million people per month.
Impossible Foods plans to add a second shift to double capacity by the end of this summer.
Potentially a million pounds of plant based meat shipped by the end of the year.
Translation: A million pounds of animal flesh not eaten.