Like it or not, the meatless trend is spreading across the country, but can it satisfy a die-hard carnivore? Food scientists have been trying to phase out our ground beef by sneaking a 100% plant-based patty that fully resembles a burger between our buns for the last decade. It’s one thing to see plant-based patties on the shelves of your local organic supermarket but over the last few years even fast food giants like Burger King, White Castle and Carl’s, Jr. are jumping on board, and the food lab to the flat top results might fool you into thinking it’s the real thing. Almost. In a high-tech world, if the patty sears like beef, tastes like it and feels like it, does it matter? To the burger aficionado, you may have to ask yourself that question a few times, why should it matter?
Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods analyzed everything a burger does when it is cooked, studied its flavor profiles and worked for years in the lab to recreate what we love about beef. They and their surprisingly diverse range of investors believe it is the future of food. That sounds kind of crazy to us burger fanatics, especially those of us that crave smash burgers at home and when eating out. After getting a taste ourselves at Monty’s Good Burger, we think they might be on to something.
When you visit Monty’s in Koreatown on Western Ave., depending on when you go you may have to wait al fresco in a short line for 10 – 15 minutes. Once invited inside to make your order you will notice staff working fast, smashing round ground meat looking balls on the flat top. You can hear the sizzle as each patty is smashed next to piles of onions on the grill. After placing your order grab a seat and enjoy the diner vibe, your food will be up within 15 minutes. Sure, Monty’s Good Burger doesn’t have the familiar aroma of a greasy burger stand, although their fries and tots are still deep fried, the design blends all the elements of a solid California burger joint.
At Monty’s, it is not so much about saving animals as it is about being plant-based for the planet. Their website states that they strive to craft, “delicious burgers as an option for carnivores who care about the environment but still want that familiar taste, as Monty’s Good Burgers require 75-80% less environmental resources than animal meat.” But does it taste like a classic hamburger?
Here is our breakdown of the Monty’s Good Burger: A fresh potato bun with enough density to keep all the ingredients in my hand to the last bite. The vegan house spread, think Thousand Island, adds that extra fat required to make up for the plant-based patty. Fresh, quick pickled cucumbers added a nice crunch. Sitting atop the curly lettuce leaf is a ripe, thick slice of tomato that tastes like it could have come from your grandma’s vegetable garden. The grilled onions add more flavor and juices from the grill— yes please. The cheese is so good and melty that you can hardly believe that it’s plant-based too. The Impossible Patty is prepared smash style with the finished crust of the Maillard Reaction you look for on a tasty burger. It not only grills like a beef patty, it bites like one, and only has a slightly nutty flavor from the plant-based ingredients. Overall, Monty’s lives up to its name and makes a good burger.
With a goal to “give hamburger enthusiasts a tasty new choice”, you should give Monty’s Good Burger a go for yourself. Love a good, thick hamburger? Go for the double and splurge on the Dog Pile fries from the secret menu.