Buona Beef, one of the chains in Chicago that features Italian Beef, has come out with a meatless version of it, using seitan, a wheat-gluten product.
It got a reasonable review from the Trib, they said it was better than several of the bland Italian Beef places they’ve visited. A little too salty and with too much oregano, but those aren’t serious flaws.
Don’t know if this link will work, and I’m dropping my Trib subscription at the end of the month because the price is tripling, but here goes:
There’s a place in downtown Lincoln that is doing Italian Beef now, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. (I so seldom get to downtown anymore, especially since the Lied Center theatre productions got cancelled due to COVID-19.)
I saw the stories about the battle of the Joshes, before and after, sounds like they had fun. They’re already talking about doing it again next year.
As to the meatless Italian Beef, there is a certain amount of technical challenge to a food chemist in producing something that looks, feels and tastes like something else. Seitan (processed wheat gluten) is something that’s been around for a while, like bean paste and tofu.
The lab-grown beef is, well, just strange. I’m not convinced it is more planet-friendly than a field full of methane-producing cattle, though. But if they can grow a ribeye steak, someday they may be able to grow a replacement kidney, liver or heart.