It’s been a while since I last visited True Food Kitchen and when I heard about a new item on the menu, I was eager to try. Of course, I can’t visit a restaurant and just eat one item — where’s the fun in that?
I was happy to see that the spot still attracts a lot of people as it was packed. The menu, although veggie-centric, is not vegetarian, with offerings such as bison burger and various seafood options as well.
My first choice was Albacore Tataki ($12), something that really whet my tastebuds! I’m sure it was the tart lime ponzu and since I love acidity, I was glad to see there was a good amount of it here. The freshness of daikon, avocado, cucumber and scallion added various flavors and textures, especially the creaminess of the soft avocado.
Just in time for the fall season, Autumn Ingredient ($12) is a warm salad of roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, squash, dried mulberry, dried pomegranate, white bean and atomic horseradish vinaigrette. I saw some people eating this as their entree, but it is so perfect as a dish to share with others. The crunch from the dried mulberry is delightful, while the horseradish adds a slight kick without packing an offensive punch. I loved this!
I’ve always liked the pizzas here — they are rather good, especially the crust — I like mine thin with a slight chew. Again, a great fall item, Butternut Squash pizza ($12) offers thinly sliced squash with smoked mozzarella and sweet onion as toppings. The squash is slightly caramelized and becomes nice and sweet while a sprinkling of crunchy walnuts adds textural contrast to the freshness of the fresh arugula on top.
“Inside Out” Quinoa Burger ($12) was the reason I came here. Using quinoa patties as the “bun”, a schmear of hummus is layered on one side of the quinoa pattie, then tzatziki, tomato, red onion, cucumber, avocado and feta to complete this concoction. The patties are delicious on their own, not at all dry and with a good nutty finish.
The final item was Spaghetti Squash Casserole ($13), something so simple, yet utterly delicious. Julienned zucchini is a great addition to the spaghetti squash strands and organic tomatoes topped with fresh mozzarella gave it a pasta feel without the carbs. Even my son loved this!
And what meal is complete without dessert? Well, generally, mine is, but Spiced Pear & Goji Berry Crisp ($7) was calling my name because I always love something with a crunch. The crisp was more like the topping of a crumble but so much better. The hot granola-like crisp is dotted with goji berries, seeds and bits of pear and when eaten with the accompanying Greek yogurt ice cream, allows for a sensation I l like a lot. Hot, cold, crunchy, all together in one bite — superb!
The Chia Seed Pudding ($7) was reminiscent of a tapioca pudding but without the little balls of tapioca. Essentially a pudding of chia seeds and coconut milk, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but turns out it was so good I’m thinking of re-creating it at home. Topped with toasted coconut and bananas, this tastes like true comfort food, but yet, is very healthy for you.
I was really pleased with this visit. I remember in the past, there were also one or two items I was less excited about when dining here. This time, while reflecting back on the meal. I realized the only non-vegetarian item was the tuna takaki. I joked with Chef Matt Tobin later if he was willing to cook my meal every day I may be able to turn vegetarian. Even though I loved everything I ate, yeah, we all know I am not going the vegetarian route any time soon!
True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660