True Food Kitchen is a restaurant based on simple, fresh, and healthy foods. It’s also the quintessential spring restaurant. At True Food Kitchen, you’ll always 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). It carried out the spring theme perfectly, from pink watermelon radishes to bright green asparagus to purple heirloom potatoes.
Also, we had a chance to chat with El Segundo Executive Chef Jordan Herigstad and General Manager Beth Centlivre. Both Herigstad and Centlivre can tell you the thought behind every last ingredient in every single dish – and are happy to share the details. “Everything is very intentionally chosen and sourced,” said Centlivre. She added with a grin: “I could literally talk to you about our food for days.”
Appetizer and Salad
We started with the Torched Avocado appetizer. At first glance, this looks like a noodle salad. However, what you might think are “noodles” are actually julienned cucumber. The “torched” (peeled and flame-grilled) avocado comes with 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 is similar to True Food Kitchen’s fall seasonal salad. (Cauliflower and pistachio is a classic combination!) It’s the perfect blend of asparagus, broccolini, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, pistachios, raisins, manchego, romaine lettuce, and a Sicilian-style vinaigrette. And for vegan or dairy-free diners, the manchego is optional.
For our main course we enjoyed a grilled chicken paillard. It was served 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 chef adds the Greek yogurt at the very end of preparation process. That’s why if someone doesn’t want dairy, they can 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, At our table, blogger Stephanie of Veeg Mama ordered the spaghetti squash casserole with vegan “ricotta.” Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the chicken, we almost ate all of her tasty casserole when she offered to share.
Last but not least, dessert was a vegan Coconut and Chia Seed Flan, topped with vegan caramel and berries. It was a little denser than a traditional flan – maybe more like a very rich pudding. Nevertheless, it was impossibly creamy and good-to-the-last drop. You would never feel like you were “missing” anything by eating a vegan dessert.
In addition, all of our courses came with the just the right wines. All of the servers know their wines and have great wine pairing ideas. 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 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.
Blogger disclosure: I received a complimentary meal for review purposes. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.