Amidst all the construction in the Warehouse District is a very large building on the corner of St Charles and Julia. It is a handsome building which will be living spaces for a large number of people. Downstairs is the retail, as in all such buildings. A small space is already filled with Bonci, a delicious pizza outpost from Rome. The much larger space will be the True Food Kitchen.
If ever there was a place that exemplifies something that has long annoyed Tom, it is True Food Kitchen. That annoying something is food that is not about goodness, or taste. True Food Kitchen is about something else. And we are not even sure what that something else is. Hipness, modernity, ingredients, but not taste.
I first ran into True Food Kitchen In Santa Monica a few years ago. It was on the ground floor of the spiffy new mall near the ocean. It’s jaw-dropping in looks, and you get really excited. You want to eat there. Until you look at the large menu and realize there is nothing you want to eat.
Here is a place that gives kale respectability. Equanimity with lettuces. This is a collaboration of chefs and a collision of first-rate ingredients, which amounts to. . .nothing, really.
The second time I ran into True Food Kitchen was in DC, in northern Virginia. Again, a swell-looking place on the ground floor of a residential building in a hip corridor of Fairfax.
We should be flattered, I guess, that New Orleans would be in the round-up of places deserving of such a hip place. But New Orleans is not like these other places where there is a collection of transplants who have no food identity. Or are we?
I have long said that Katrina was an unintended sociological experiment. All the kids from faraway places came here to help us rebuild, bringing with them their own cultures. American, yes, but not New Orleans, which is one of the most unique cultures in America. And food is a big part of that. The fate of True Food Kitchen will rest on what that dynamic is circa 2019, and how these kids have assimilated to the food culture of this place they now call home.
We will know September 25th, when True Food Kitchen first opens its doors for business.
True Food Kitchen
801 St Charles St New Orleans