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Impossible Burger 2.0 tastes so real

A scoop of tartare — mixed through with finely diced onions, mustard and capers — glistened on a poker-chip-size slice of chewy rye bread. It was expertly prepared by Mike Minor, the mustachioed executive chef of Border Grill in Las Vegas.

As he folded the ingredients into the ruddy pink ground beef with two spoons, I asked him what difference he notices between this fake tartare and the kind that comes from cows.

He struggled to come up with something while he mixed.

It doesn’t have the same “iron-y” flavor as real raw beef, he conceded. Less “iron-y” flavor sounded like a perk to me.

“Here,” he said, as he handed me the first sample from his latest batch. “Be my taste tester. Does it need anything? Salt?”

I stalled as I chewed. Think! Say something about saltiness. My stomach started objecting to what was going on in my mouth.

“I haven’t had beef in more than a decade,” I said through my mouthful, hoping the disclaimer might mask my growing revulsion.

Border Grill’s executive chef, Mike Minor, crafts tartare from Impossible Foods’ new plant-based meat.

Impossible Foods, the maker of the so-called “bleeding” plant-based Impossible Burger, unveiled a new version of the “beef” product Monday at CES 2019. It’s the company’s first product update since the launch of the original burger in 2016.

It’s also the next step in the company’s mission to make fake meat taste so good that we eliminate animals as a “food production technology” by 2035.

According to Impossible Foods, this marks the first time CES has ever exhibited food as a technology.

To the company’s credit, every other preparation of the latest Impossible Burger was delicious.

The very best was the actual burger — with the soft bun, tangy sauce, zesty crunch of barely-there raw onion and refreshing crisp of lettuce and tomato. Combined with the juicy, chewy patty, it tasted amazing because it tasted like a real burger.

Take note: This relish comes from someone who looked under the bun of her Happy Meal hamburger as a grade schooler and — after close inspection of the grayish, pockmarked meat — swore off burgers forever. I didn’t totally stick to that vow.

I ate a burger from Manhattan’s Corner Bistro sometime around 2005, figuring after more than a decade without burgers I should give them another try. It didn’t stick.

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