A long, long time ago, I wrote what was something like a First Looks about a new restaurant in town called S&B’s Burger Joint. (It was for a mythical website for The Oklahoman called Wimgo and nobody ever read it, at all. Ever.)
I was BLOWN AWAY by the flavor combinations, by the quality of each little slider, by the sheer amount of food I could fit in my mouth before I had to lay down in one of the booths. Also, the soundtrack was super on point.
Am I saying I’m some sort of oracle? Some magician who can predict which restaurants will be huge hits and spin off an entire chain of eateries worth millions of dollars? Yes. I am. Please pay me for this talent.
No, I’m just saying S&B’s has been good forever and now, with original owner Shannon Roper at the helm, the first S&B’s is better than ever. One thing he and business partner Aly Cunningham are doing that I very much appreciate is an expansion of the plant-based menu.
(Is there a reason I can’t call it vegan? I’m not sure. They call it plant-based so I call it plant-based.)
Both have family members who are vegan and both have experienced that annoyance when the restaurant they’d like to visit doesn’t have anything to accommodate their loved one. Or maybe they have a vegan option, but it’s just a salad. Or a plate of steamed vegetables.
There’s been a plant-based burger on the S&B’s menu since early days, but now they’re going wild with the ubiquitous Impossible Burger, a faux chicken product and a coconut milk-based shake.
I stopped by when they were making everything on the new menu and took some pictures and tried a few things and I figured, what the heck, why not write about it on this food website I run.
First up, if you’ve been a fan of the original S&B veggie burger, don’t worry. It’s still here and you can sub it in on any of the other burgers.
But if you’re the type who enjoys the Impossible burger, you’re going to love this. They’ve adapted a bunch of classic recipes with plant-based ingredients, including Daiya cheese. This is perfect for any former meat eaters looking to experience a long, lost taste of the glory days.
(Also, if you’re a vegetarian and you don’t need fake cheese, I HIGHLY recommend you ask for real cheese. Sorry, Daiya fans. There’s just something slimy about melted Daiya that I cannot get used to.)
The Green Chili Cheeseburger has Daiya American cheese with a pile of spicy roasted green chilis, avocado and a green chili ranch. I don’t know if this one is a fair comparison for meat eaters, but I loved it. Green chili has such an assertive punch that the flavor of the burger kind of fades into the background. Texture-wise (aside from the Daiya) it was spot-on. The buns they’re using are pillowy and delightful and keep a fairly decent hold on some very slippery ingredients.
The Old Fashioned (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, Daiya cheese) was a fairer test and it killed it. Would I know this was not beef if it was served to me? I’m not sure. I like to think so, but it’s close enough that I really think Impossible has cracked the code.
For an even bigger umami punch, the Mushroom & Swiss has the added benefit of (you guessed) mushrooms to amp up the flavor. That said, the Daiya Swiss is the slimiest of their cheeses, so please watch your drip.
The Impossible Fries are loaded cheesy nacho fries covered in shredded Daiya, taco-seasoned Impossible burger crumbles, guac, pickled jalapeno, diced tomato, salsa, onions and olives. Vegan bro food? Yes, bro.
It’s oddly toward the bottom of the plant-based menu, but the boneless wings are worth a try. Texture is the weak point on these Hungry Planet meatless chicken nuggets, which are dunked in hot sauce and served with vegan ranch dressing and celery. The flavor is great—hot sauce covers all manner of sins, so I’m not sure how much meat flavor actually came through—and the crunch is nice. It’s the texture of the “meat,” which is just a little more airy than I like. Almost like a thick, compressed scrambled egg.
I know I’m not the target audience for this, but if you’re a vegan and you miss hot wings, I bet these will flip your switch. And if someone ordered these for the table, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab one.
Finally, the cookies and cream shake is...wonderful. Coconut ice cream and almond milk have such lovely, complementary tastes that it doesn’t just taste good, it’s tastes RIGHT. Mix in those crushed Oreos and you’re in heaven, regardless of your stance on ingesting animal products.
This is only available (currently) at the 59th Street S&B’s Burger Joint, so don’t expect to find this menu at every location. At least not yet. With Shannon back experimenting behind scenes, I’m sure a few of his creations will make it to the rest of the chain.