TRUE FOOD KITCHEN AT EASTON
Writer: Amelia Jeffers
Photography courtesy True Food Kitchen
In a city with an ever-increasing selection of health-focused eating options, it can be tough to tell them all apart. But Columbus has a new standout that’s impossible to ignore. At its new Easton location, True Food Kitchen blows away the competition and redefines conscious dining.
True Food Kitchen wants you to “eat optimistically,” and they make it tough not to. With it’s science-based, imaginative menu, sustainable sourcing, and upbeat ambiance, True Food Kitchen takes a passionate approach to delivering a not only satisfying, but guilt-free and indulgent experience.
True Food Kitchen is a passion project for Dr. Andrew Weil, celebrity doctor, wellness advocate, and a skilled home cook. The friends and family to whom he served delectable dishes built around his anti-inflammatory food pyramid urged him to open a restaurant. Years later, with the encouragement and guidance of noted restaurateur (and close friend) Sam Fox, he did just that. With a vast scientific knowledge, Weil designed a menu that appealed to both his physician sensibilities and his refined palette, while Fox and team leveraged their operational and design acumen to develop a restaurant that would deliver on Weil’s vision. Together Weil and Fox would defy the negative perception of health food. Everything had to taste and look great. The food would be inviting and approachable, but thoroughly signature. The team experimented and tweaked until they hit recipes that came close to Weil’s exacting idea of perfection. True Food Kitchen opened the doors to its first Phoenix restaurant in 2008 to instant success and now boasts nearly 50 locations across 17 states.
Entering True Food Kitchen, there’s an immediate sense of place. Upbeat music plays throughout an expansive dining room that is flooded with natural light. Kelly green banquettes line the perimeter, and white and bright blue pillows add random pops of color and cheer. Polished concrete floors, exposed beams, an open kitchen lend to the chic-industrial-meets-sophisticated interior. It’s certainly modern, but not at all sterile.
Barracks was our server, referred to by his manager as a “brand ambassador” and “star employee.” It quickly became clear why. Passionate about True Food Kitchen and armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of the menu and its ingredients, Barracks was eager to curate our customized dining experience.
With a variety of teas, juices and seltzer, we started with recommendations from the refreshers menu; deciding on two signature drinks: the Kale Aid (a blend of kale, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and apple) and the Sparkling Prickly Pear Tisane. Both were super light and true to the menu title, refreshing. Though I preferred the Kale Aid, I’d recommend the Sparkling Prickly Pear Tisane to anyone who enjoys a hint of sweetness.
The starters lineup features entirely vegetarian dips, soup, and small plates with an emphasis on vegan-friendly options. The Butternut Squash Soup was as delicious as it was attractive, with a subtle sage garnish. Harissa tahini gave a subtle kick to the tender Charred Cauliflower. If there is one must try, it’s the Roasted Brussel Sprouts - described by my table mate as “out of this world”. With an assortment of mushrooms and a tangy sesame vinaigrette combined with the sweet heat of chili threads, I had to agree that this dish is a perfect starter.
Main course options abound on the extensive menu: bowls, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and more, making it tough for someone who loves to try everything. The seasonal pizza during our visit was the unconventional and mouth-watering Butternut Squash Pizza, completed with caramelized onions, vegan lemon almond ricotta, dried cranberries, roasted garlic, kale, and sage. The Teriyaki Bowl is a perfect example of how slight modifications can dramatically change a dish. Accepting Barracks’ suggestion of a jackfruit substitution, we were blown away by the interest and texture that took a fairly classic dish to intriguing and unique. The final and possibly best dish we tried was the Grilled Sustainable Salmon. Served with cauliflower polenta and grilled broccolini, the entree takes a different approach to salmon with snap pea, edamame, zucchini, pickled red onion, miso, cashew, and chili threads all combined to make a craveable dish worth a return trip for sure.
Dessert may seem contrary to the concept of health food, but with a creative selection, True Food Kitchen makes it work. You might mistake the Butternut Squash Pie for pumpkin at first glance, but upon first bite the difference is clear. Topped with coconut whipped cream, the pie was not only healthier than pumpkin pie, but truly better. Admittedly, the flourless chocolate cake is a bit indulgent with vanilla ice cream, caramel, and almonds; but considering how healthy every other dish was, we felt pretty justified. Besides, it’s worth every bite.
True Food Kitchen isn’t just revolutionizing health restaurants, it’s setting a new bar for the dining industry and proving that eating out doesn’t have to mean giving up on a better diet and better living. As its website reads, “Craveable food that boosts your mood.”
For more information, visit online at truefoodkitchen.com or in person (socially distant, of course) at True Food Kitchen at 4052 Worth Avenue in Easton across from Nordstrom.
As a special treat for Sophisticated Living Columbus online readers, True Food Kitchen is sharing this signature recipe from their cocktail menu:
The Common Bond: