True Food Kitchen – a restaurant based on simple, fresh, and healthy foods – is the quintessential spring restaurant. Every time you go to True Food Kitchen, you’ll enjoy a wide range of fresh fruits and veggies in bright, cheery, spring-like colors.
We recently had a chance to preview the new spring menu (officially rolling out April 5), and it carried out the spring theme as perfectly as we could have possibly imagined, from pink watermelon radishes to bright green asparagus to purple heirloom potatoes. We also had a chance to chat with El Segundo Executive Chef Jordan Herigstad and General Manager Beth Centlivre, both of whom can tell you the thought behind every last ingredient in every single dish – and are happy to share all the details. “Everything is very intentionally chosen and sourced,” said Centlivre, adding with a grin: “I could literally talk to you about our food for days.”
We started with the Torched Avocado appetizer, which was almost like a noodle salad, except what you might think are “noodles” are actually julienned cucumber. The “torched” (peeled and flame-grilled) avocado is paired with the cucumber strips, mushrooms, snap peas, watermelon radish, and black sesame seeds. Tying it all together is a to-die-for tangy turmeric-ponzu dressing.
Next came the Seasonal Ingredient Salad, which has similar themes to True Food Kitchen’s fall seasonal salad we tasted last November (cauliflower and pistachio is a classic combination!). It’s the perfect marriage of asparagus, broccolini, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, pistachios, raisins, manchego, romaine lettuce, and a Sicilian-style vinaigrette. And for vegan or dairy-free diners, it’s a simple step to skip the manchego.
For our main course we enjoyed a grilled chicken paillard with broccolini and purple potatoes in a chermoula (herb and Greek yogurt) sauce. (My pal Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious jokingly asked if we could have a straw to sip up the remaining sauce – it was that good.)
Centlivre noted that the Greek yogurt is added at the very end of preparation process, so if someone didn’t want dairy, they could simply ask to skip the yogurt. “We’re flexible, and it won’t really change the flavor,” said Centlivre.
But of course chicken doesn’t work for everyone – and that’s why fellow blogger Stephanie of Veeg Mama ordered the spaghetti squash casserole with vegan “ricotta.” Even though we were nearly falling over from how good the chicken was, we almost ate all of her tasty casserole when she offered to share.
And yet somehow, through all of of those courses they managed to save the very best for last. Dessert was a vegan Coconut and Chia Seed Flan, topped with vegan caramel and seasonal berries. It was a little denser than what you would expect from a flan – maybe more like a very rich pudding – but it was so impossibly creamy and good-to-the-last drop that you would never feel like you were “missing” anything by eating a vegan dessert.
All of our courses were perfectly paired with individual wines that were well-suited to the occasion. We’ve found that every server we’ve had was well-versed in all of the wines, so if you have any questions about a good wine to drink with your meal, they can definitely help you out.
The new spring menu debuts April 5, and you can expect to see these and more spring highlights. (Be prepared, though, for variations in the menu based on availability, freshness, and quality of local ingredients.) True Food Kitchen is located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee Texas, and Virginia, with additional locations coming soon.
Blogger disclosure: I received a complimentary meal for review purposes. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.