It’s been exactly two years since I last visit True Food Kitchen, not for any reason other than the fact that there are so many new restaurants popping up and there is only so much time. Many of the fall items I mention in a post back in 2013 are back again, so if you want to read about those, you can find it here.
However, there are plenty of new menu items as well, and I want to try them all. We start with Honey Bee Ginger Beer ($5.50) an effervesent drink with ginger, honey, chai spice, lime and sparkling water. I like this one a lot. The other, Matcha Horchata ($6) is served either hot or cold matcha — we opt for the latter — and comprises almond milk, evaporated cane sugar, cinnamon, clove and vanilla. My son happily slurps away on this one.
Now, I am not gluten-free, nor did I go about this way consciously selecting gluten-free items. In fact, I am not even aware of it until I come home and revisit the menu before sitting down to write this. Every single item we order this evening turns out to be gluten-free! So for those with gluten-sensitivity, rest assured that this is perhaps one of those restaurants that has an extensive menu specifically for you!
Most people are familiar with the crudite bowl at TFK, and now, I see Roasted Seasonal Vegetable Board ($14) on the menu. It is a perfect item for the table to share. There is heirloom carrots of various colors, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, served with two dipping sauces: avocado green goddess dip and pimento cashew cheese spread. I can’t decide which I like better since they’re equally good.
I’m not a big fan of salads, but our server informs us that there are some new ones on the menu, AND, we are able to get half portions. I’m sold! Harvest Chopped Salad ($13.50) comprises squash, apple, pomegranate, walnut, goat cheese tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. It is okay. I prefer the next one so much more.
Kale Crunch ($13) is a misnomer because the first thing I taste is watercress — a personal favorite! I don’t know why there isn’t more of it in use. Then, there are bits of kale and cabbage, along with radish with my other favorite, avocado! Grapefruit segments add some acid and sweetness, but it is the delicious chile garlic dressing that brings it all together. There is a slight kick, but not so much that it will be too spicy for some people.
Moving on to entrees, there are so many that catch my eye. House-Made Turkey Lasagna ($16) is made with gluten free spinach pasta, ricotta, and organic tomato. My son tells me it is one of THE BEST lasagnas he has ever tasted. It is light and possesses a freshness from the tomatoes. The ricotta is not heavy and the turkey gives it a bold flavor without bogging it down. I am impressed.
Braised Bison Short Rib ($25) is another stellar dish if you’re a red meat eater. The bison is fork-tender, and I enjoy the cauliflower/parsnip mash which adds depth without the starchiness. There are roasted carrots, fennel, as well as a beautiful bundle of sauteed Swiss chard. Flavor-wise it is robust and definitely evokes the feeling that autumn is here.
However, my absolute favorite of the night is Moroccan Chicken ($20). In my mind, I am still thinking about the Moroccan chicken at Mi Casa Supper Club in Mexico. Although it is composed very differently — there are chickpeas, fig, olive, spinach and chermoula — it is a burst of bold flavors which appeal to me. Cumin and paprika are at the forefront while other ingredients are less prominent. The sauce is light and enhances the moist, juicy chicken without overwhelming it. An absolute delight!
Finish with the Cranberry Almond Cake ($7) with Marcona almonds, pear compote, and a scoop of frozen yogurt.
True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660