I love True Food Kitchen and am always kicking myself for not visiting more often. I love the natural colors of the interior and the clean, fresh decor of the interior. Everyone here has that healthy, sun-kissed look about them and it is befitting seeing the menu is organic, fresh and always prepared in the healthiest of ways certified and approved by Dr Andrew Weil.
Whenever I am asked what I want to drink, I always say “let me start with your daily water” — which usually is cucumber water unless it is the summer when watermelon water sometimes makes an appearance. In fact, the cucumber water is so refreshing I wish I had a few glasses of it first thing every single morning.
I am here to try the new fall menu items and am happy to find a lot of new salads using fall vegetables. But before we begin, we start with cocktails — The Peacemaker ($10) and Flower Child ($10).
The Peacemaker is a strong whiskey based drink with Averna (an Italian liqueur possessing a herbally bitter taste) , lemon, honey and black tea. If I liked whiskey I might have enjoyed this more, but the overwhelming aromas of the whiskey wasn’t to my liking.
Flower Child with juniper organic gin, St Germain elderflower, pineapple juice, honey lemonade, fennel and mint was very delicious. It also had some fizziness to it which I’m guessing is soda water.
Our first item was Thai Shrimp Dumplings ($12). I found the filling a little too firm but the Thai-inspired sauce was awesome — I detected soy sauce, fish sauce, citrus and chilis. Would’ve liked to see these served in little bamboo steamers which may also retain the heat better — just a thought!
Roasted Beets and Mozarella Agrodolce ($9) was the kind of dish that highly appeals to me. I love beets and these lightly pink-hued chunks were sweet with the right texture. The slight bitterness of the arugula, together with the spiciness of the dressing and fresh pepper lend the perfect flavor components to the dish while the pistachios added wonderful crunch.
I absolutely loved this next salad — Farmer’s Market ($12) — a mixture of kale, romaine, carrot, beet, broccolini, radish, avocado, Manchego tossed in a Champagne vinaigrette. Everything just came together so well and every mouthful was flavorful and crunchy. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and how the colors and flavors pop in your mouth.
I wasn’t sure I’d like Harvest Chopped ($12), a salad of squash, apple, pomegranate, walnuts, goat cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette. First off, I’m not a fan of both apple and pomegranate, but the latter surprised me. It was perfectly ripen so there was no ‘dirt’ after taste in my mouth. I’ve always experienced pomegranate seeds to have the taste of dirt, hence my dislike for them. I don’t know how they did it, but these were extremely palatable!
Roasted Chicken ($19) was probably my least favorite dish of the evening. I think the combination of cranberries and walnuts with protein just didn’t fare well with my palate. Though the chicken was tender, apart from the skin, it was under-seasoned and on the bland side. I am also not a fan of fruit and protein together on the same plate, however, the farro and red spinach accompaniments were outstanding!
Perhaps my Asian palate was looking for something more from Red Chili Shrimp ($18). Don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty! The sesame noodles with gai lan, red spinach and shiitake mushrooms was stellar, but I wanted extra spice and didn’t expect to be presented with red chili flakes and sambal oelek as condiments. The dish also had an overpowering ginger taste — which I don’t mind — but I know a lot of people who aren’t fond of the root and might balk at it. The noodles were perfectly prepared though.
Pan Seared Sea Bass ($24) was stunning. I loved the flakiness of the fish and the ‘umami’ sauce was indeed filled with the flavor of umami — leaving you wanting more. Brussels sprouts were impeccable and the use of purple potato potato was a unique touch. I would definitely order this again without hesitation.
If you still had room for dessert, I suggest Apple Crisp ($7) which is served with pecan maple ice cream but I say have that on the side. I did not like the ice cream one bit. It was grainy, icy and did not appeal to me whatsoever. The crisp though was absolutely delectable and I would’ve been happy with it on its own.
I guess I was the only one who enjoyed the Squash Pie ($7) finding it rather addicting in a strange sort of way. It reminds me of pumpkin pie, but not quite and it is not sweet either. The accompanying vanilla bean ice cream was a lot better than the pecan maple, although, if you are a stickler for the full cream version, I’d say get this on the side also.
True Food Kitchen never fails to impress me with its use of sustainable and locally grown organic produce. You can really taste the difference and know that they take pride in providing the best to their customers while helping the environment at the same time.
True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660