Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Opening: True Food Kitchen

By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor

The Mosaic District has a new restaurant: True Food Kitchen. True Food Kitchen is a rapidly expanding brand – this is their 10th location – that serves globally inspired cuisine and regional, seasonal foods in an upscale, green environment. True Food Kitchen’s menu is based on the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and their menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, desserts.

Determined to reach a food- and health-conscious audience, True Food Kitchen’s menu is tailored to specific dietary restrictions and allergies; offers a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, organic, and gluten-free options; and even options for those following Paleo or Mediterranean-based diets. True Food Kitchen also offers grass-fed beef, sustainably raised fish and organic milk, butter and select produce (the “dirty dozen”). I sometimes find that food at places with “healthier” ambitions sometimes falls short; I had the opportunity to visit True Food Kitchen a few days before it opened and am pleased to say this was not the case at all – I left completely satisfied.

It’s rare that I debate between non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to begin my meal, but I admit I was quite tempted by the “Natural Refreshments” section. This non-alcoholic beverage section of the menu features creative concoctions such as the Cucumber Refresher (Cucumber and Honey Lemonade) and the Hangover RX (Cocunut Water, Pineapple, Vanilla, and Orange Juice). However, in the end I did choose to sample several of True Food Kitchen’s creative cocktails, beginning my meal with the Cucumber Martini (Ketel One Vodka, St. Germain, pineapple, and cucumber).  The cocktail was refreshing and sweet and kicked off my meal perfectly. 

To start, I ordered the Caramelized Onion Tart (a vegetarian option) with smoked garlic, black fig, and gorgonzola. The crust was perfectly crispy; the smoked garlic added a nice, but not overwhelming garlic accent, and the tang of the gorgonzola complemented the sweet figs.

Next, entrees. I had the opportunity to try the Street Tacos (a gluten free option) with avocado, cojita cheese, tomatillo salsa, sour cream and ansari bean. This entrée came with a choice of either grass-fed steak or striped bass. I chose the grass-fed steak and admi that it’s nice to see grass-fed meats on a restaurant menu; a great option for those who enjoy meat but are looking to watch their saturated fat/cholesterol intake. The beef was tender and flavorful and the cheese and avocado really tied the dish together.

In addition to the Street Tacos, I had the Red Chili Shrimp made with sesame noodles, gai lan, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms (gluten-free diners can substitute shirataki noodles to make the dish gluten free). The noodles and shrimp were both prepared beautifully and the dish seasoned well; I wouldn’t have minded a little more spiciness to it, but overall it was quite delicious. It was about this time that I was ready for another cocktail, and this time I chose the Thai Grapefruit Martini with Prairie Organic Vodka, Thai Basil, and Grapefruit. This cocktail was less sweet than my first cocktail and went well with my dish. 

Somehow, I managed to find room for dessert and chose the Squash Pie, which was accompanied by a healthy amount of Coconut Whipped Cream. A dead ringer for pumpkin pie, this was sweet and spicy at the same time and the unexpected flavor of coconut really complemented the pie.

True Food Kitchen is designed with sustainability in mind; the restaurant features lots of wood and green tones and incorporates eco-friendly materials such as hardwood floors made of reclaimed wood, and dining chairs made of recycled soda bottles. All of these bright, welcoming design aspects come together at the back of the restaurant featuring a large, open kitchen. The Mosaic District location also features a covered patio for seasonal dining and – one feature that I love – an “outdoor bar” where guests can sit outside the restaurant on the patio and face the inside bar. I can definitely see myself at one of those bar stools in the future!

Not knowing what to expect, I was very impressed by True Food Kitchen. I’m looking forward to returning and trying more of their menu selections. For more information, please visit http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/locations/fairfax/ and http://mosaicdistrict.com/dine/true-food-kitchen/

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