A Surprise At Dinner

Written by Tom Fitzmorris September 23, 2019 11:43 in Dining Diary

Introducing the Gourmet Credit Guy, who posts in this space.It isn't often that my wife and I are invited to a "soft opening" of a restaurant, so when the invitation to True Food Kitchen came along, it was too good to pass up.

We arrived Saturday just before 1:00 pm and were greeted by a very happy and welcoming staff.  The space itself is large, open and airy.  Now I had my reservations about this place before I arrived because it appears to be a very "healthy" restaurant.  Not something that I would normally gravitate to, although I probably should do so more often.  The menu is very large.  It starts with "Refreshers" , which are non-alcoholic lemonades, juices and teas both hot and cold.  My wife started off with the Honey Lemonade and I had the Iced Green Tea.  Both were excellent. The menu continues with juices and smoothies before moving into and abbreviated breakfast menu with offerings such as Banana Pancakes and Quinoa to Smashed Avocado Toast.  I'm not sure what the fascination is with Avocado Toast, but it is seems to pop up every where today.

Next we moved onto starters.  Something we typically don't have at lunch.  Our server was great and insisted that we try one.  Heck, they were flipping the bill, so we asked which her favorite was. To be honest, I was less than moved by her answer.  Edamame Dumplings.  I must have given her an odd look, because, she said, no really, they are excellent.  We rolled the dice and went for it.  What arrived at the table were four delicate dumplings filled with an edamame puree.  They were floating in mild broth of soy and ginger, topped with chopped mint leaves and scallions.  This is something I never would have ordered.  I am so glad we did.  They were light and delicious.

The salads that passed by our table were beautiful as well.  With each you had the opportunity to add a protein such as chicken, steak, shrimp or salmon for a small up-charge.   There were also three or four pizzas and flatbreads listed.  Each leaning of course, to the healthy side of things.  There were also several "bowls" on the menu featuring either Quinoa, Cauliflower Polenta or Ancient Grains.  My wife ordered the Spicy Panang Curry with Chicken.  When it arrived it too was very appealing.  The curry was a beautiful color.  The green beans and sweet potatoes rounded out the delicate and flavorful sauce.  While it was a great dish, I wouldn't call it "spicy".  It is possible that living in NOLA we have a higher expectation when something claims to be spicy.  Personally, if my nose isn't running, it's not spicy.

As I mentioned, the menu was large.  After looking over the selections of the Beet Burger, which  noticed not many people who ordered it were actually eating it,  the Quinoa Burger, the shrimp or grilled fish tacos, I opted for the Chicken Avocado Wrap.  Avocado twice in one meal.  My body must have been craving Mexican today and it forgot to tell me.  When my meal arrived, I was again pleased.  It was a generous wrap with grilled chicken, sliced avocado, tomato and butter lettuce.  For a side, I ordered the Mediterranean Cucumber Salad.  It was a large serving of thinly sliced small cucumbers with dill, pumpkin seeds, oil and vinegar.  Very refreshing.

By this time, we were quite full so the prospect of dessert was not happening.  I did over hear the server at the table next to us mentioning a flourless chocolate cake served ala mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I am not sure where this fit into this healthy menu, but there it was! Oh, speaking of healthy, they have a great bar and cocktail menu.  It is New Orleans after all.

As I mentioned, this is not really my type of restaurant.  Anytime I see a calorie count next to a menu item, I am ready to bolt for the door.  True Food Kitchen however, has really made me re-think my feelings on this subject.  "Healthy" does not have to equate to small tasteless portions.  Quite the contrary.  The dishes we had were very ample portions and tasty.  We were also very impressed with management and staff here.  This was a soft opening that went very well.  The food was coming out as expected and the service was great.  If there were any hiccups, we didn't observe them.
For a cool, hip restaurant I never expected to like, we are adding into our rotation.  Goodness knows my waistline will appreciate it!

Tom Sez: I too, was at True Food Kitchen on Friday night. This is the newest in the 25-location concept backed by Oprah's money serving healthy, global cuisine. The multi-background staff duplicates itself in the kitchen and on the plate. True Food Kitchen offers exotic ingredients and methods of cooking so varied it seems that no two dishes or arrays of ingredients are found together. Who would have thought that eating healthy using worldwide techniques would become a challenge to local dining styles? I have to admit that my Thai-style curry with a side of quinoa was delicious, and Mary Leigh enjoyed her Kale Cobb. Several people came to ask, "What are you doing here?" My answer was simple: curiosity.