Impossible Foods' famous "bleeding" vegan burger, once available at just a handful of San Francisco restaurants, is now toying with the palates of vegetarians and curious omnivores Bay Area–wide, where more than 50 eateries are offering the scientifically engineered foodstuff.
We love a good burger, but sometimes we want...something else. We've scoured local menus to see how clever chefs are integrating the Impossible meat into other plant-based dishes. Here are a handful that even beef-eaters will love.
At lunchtime, Oakland's Shakewell offers a Mediterranean-style take on the Impossible burger. Chef Jennifer Biesty's vegan kefta meatballs—heavily spiced with fragrant garlic, cumin, and other North African flavors—are meaty alternatives to the restaurant's lamb and beef version. Order the Impossible kefta in a wrap or on a salad of green quinoa, wild arugula, heirloom tomato, and cucumbers. For a great deal, try Shakewell's prix-fixe lunch special that comes with soup or salad and dessert for just $20. // 3407 Lakeshore Ave (Oakland), shakewelloakland.com
Impossible meat makes a cameo on the brunch menu at this unassuming little diner in San Mateo. In the vegetarian Impossible scramble, dig into a mound of mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion scrambled with the vegan meat and three eggs, and topped with cheddar cheese. It's a deeply satisfying dish that gives Apple Fritter's similar meat-based scrambles a run for their money. // 1901 S. Norfolk (San Mateo), applefrittereatery.com
At San Mateo's new German beer hall, Wursthall, there is just one vegan option among the dozen different wursts (sausages) and sandwiches—but it's the best choice of all. The restaurant's Impossible doner kebap (traditionally made with lamb, or a mix of beef and lamb), available at lunch and dinner, is made Turkish-style with pickled cucumbers, chiles, and sauce sandwiched between fluffy flatbread. Complete your meal with a soft pretzel, served with black pepper honey butter, and a pint of local or European beer. // 310 Baldwin Ave (San Mateo), wursthall.com
West of Pecos
The Mission restaurant/bar West of Pecos puts a southwestern twist on Impossible meat. At dinner, they offer a vegan version of their "puffy taco"—a tostada made with a soft, doughy tortilla—topped with Impossible meat, cashew crema, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Get it solo, or in a trio to compare it with the carnitas and barbecue beef brisket to see just how good meat-free can be. // 550 Valencia St (Mission), westofpecos.com
This Cal-Italian eatery with a commitment to sustainability, offers not one but two Impossible dishes on its lunch and dinner menus. Their version of the Impossible burger is served with tomato jam, arugula, and the option of smoked mozzarella on brioche; but for something more unique, the Impossible pizza is a worthy choice. With its spiced "sausage," sun-dried tomato, fennel, and braised greens, this pie will have your meat-eating dining companions reaching for a second slice. // 700 Welch Rd (Palo Alto), vinaenoteca.com
Hayes Valley mainstay Sauce has integrated Impossible meat into its much loved "social cuisine." Craving a hearty Bolognese? The restaurant offers an impossibly indulgent vegan version made with "ground beef," zucchini noodles, San Marzano tomato sauce, garlic, shallots and fresh herbs. It's Italian comfort food at its healtiest. // 131 Gough St (Hayes Valley), saucesf.com
Chef Traci Des Jardins has always been a pioneer in the kitchen, and she was one of the first to serve the Impossible burger, which is available in slightly different iterations both at upscale Jardinière and at the ballpark's casual Public House. So it's little surprise to find the meatless wonder on the menu at TDJ's new bar concept, School Night, which offers a perfect cocktail pairing in the form of crisped albondigas served with tomatillo salsa. With just three small balls per bowl, you may not want to share. // 601 19th St. (Dogpatch), schoolnightsf.com