True Food Kitchen
We have a new restaurant in the St Johns Town Center and I'm here to tell you all about it! True Food Kitchen recently opened in the old Mitchell's Fish Market spot and completely renovated the space. The 8064 square foot restaurant has a large open dining room, private rooms, and a big open kitchen so you can watch the magic happen. I was invited out to the media event before the grand opening and was able to try a few different menu items. We were seated in one of the private rooms and I was immediately struck by the awesomeness of the wall art. It was a giant tree made of real moss. Each location is decorated specifically for that city, so we also have some surfboards on the walls of the main dining room.
I started my lunch with one of their fresh pressed juice drinks, Original Ginger "O.G." (lime, honey, bubbly water). This was a very refreshing drink and the ginger gave it a little bit of spice. A few starters started coming out, Kale Guacamole (V) - grapefruit, cilantro, roasted poblano, sunflower seed & pita chips and Farmers Market Crudités (VEG) - chilled raw vegetables, tzatziki & black olive dip. The Crudités looks so much like a work of art that we all thought it was part of the table arrangement when we sat down.
Next, we tried Seasonal Ingredient Salad (VEG GF) - brussels sprout, quinoa, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, pomegranate, toasted mulberry, horseradish vinaigrette, Organic Tuscan Kale (VEG) - lemon, garlic, grana padano, breadcrumb, and Ancient Grains (V) - miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow pea, grilled portobello, avocado, hemp seed.
One thing I really loved about the Seasonal ingredient Salad was that the base is shredded brussels sprouts instead of lettuce. It was different and unique and the other ingredients complimented each other. But my favorite part of this salad was the toasted mulberry, I have never had anything like it. The chefs take mulberries, dehydrate, then toast them. It is insanely clever and creates a crunchy berry that still retains its sweetness.
|Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Seasonal Ingredient Salad, Organic Tuscan Kale, Ancient Grains|
An immediate table favorite was the Edamame Dumplings (VEG) - dashi, white truffle oil, Asian herbs. These dumplings are packed with so much flavor that you would never know that they are only 270 calories! Each pasta dumpling is filled with mashed edamame and there are a few whole ones on top. The broth is very comforting, I could definitely drink it alone (and I did once the dumplings were finished off!)
Next up were the Roasted Brussels Sprouts (V GF) - asian mushroom, miso sesame vinaigrette, chili thread, Charred Cauliflower (V GF) - harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, pistachio, and Butternut Squash Pizza (V) - caramelized onion, roasted garlic, organic kale, vegan almond ricotta, dried cranberry, sage. Who would ever think to find pizza on a healthy menu? Not me, but that's exactly what I found with the Butternut Squash. If you are in the mood for pizza but don't want all of the calories, this is definitely a great trade off. I also adored the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. The miso sesame vinaigrette is unlike any other glaze I have experienced on brussels and I loved every bit of it. The Charred Cauliflower were also unique and tasty with the harissa tahini added.
We were given the option to try other things off the menu so a few people at the table placed some orders. I did not personally try these items but I still wanted to share the photos.
Left to right, top to bottom:
T.L.T. (V) - smoked tempeh, butter lettuce, tomato, avocado, vegan mayonnaise, seeded grain bread
Spicy Panang Curry (GF) - sweet potato, pole bean, bok choy, carrot, thai basil, coconut shrimp broth (with rice)
Dashi Ramen (V GF) sweet potato glass noodle, bok choy, grilled portobello, charred onion, radish, dried sweet corn, black bean, sesame chili oil
Mediterranean Chicken Pita - grilled flatbread, romaine, arugula, grape, house pickle, red onion, feta, harissa tahini.
One of the great things about True Food Kitchen is the diversity of their menu. When I saw a burger on there, I knew I had to try it. Grass-Fed Burger - umami, mushroom, caramelized onion, arugula, parmesan, mayonnaise, flax seed bun. Now this is a great burger! It was a lot bigger than I expected and was exploding with flavor. It came with a side of sweet potatoes to keep the whole dish under 900 calories (860 to be exact!) This burger is sure to keep all the carnivores in your life happy.
Another fantastic item I wanted to share with you is the Lasagna Bolognese (GF) - fennel chicken sausage, mushroom, spinach, lemon ricotta, herbs. This clocks in at 450 calories but you would not be able to tell. It is one of the best lasagnas I have had, not even kidding.
Now for everyone's favorite course, dessert! We were able to try 2 of their offerings, Squash Pie (V GF) - graham crust, coconut whipped cream and Flourless Chocolate Cake (VEG GF) - caramel, almond, vanilla ice cream, cocoa nib. Upon my first bite of the Squash Pie I was a little confused, but in a good way. It tasted just like pumpkin pie! The Flourless Chocolate Cake was a must try for me. I am a self proclaimed chocoholic so I was eager to try this. While I can admit that the cake itself is lacking some depth, the ice cream and caramel more than make up for it.
Verdict: Loved It!
Wow, True Food Kitchen really blew me away! When you tell me I'm eating something healthy, I immediately think it's not going to taste great. That is definitely not the case here. Every dish was meticulously planned to maximize the flavor. I was interested to learn that a lot of the menu items are influenced by the Blue Zone Diet. People who live in the Blue Zones (five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S.) have the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world, so they have a proven track record. Most of the menu items will rotate seasonally but a few will remain year round. I think that's a great way to keep the menu fresh and get us trying more things. I know I can't wait to go back and try something new!