Days before its November 19 opening in Dallas' Preston Center, True Food Kitchen — the "healthy" concept from Arizona-based Fox Restaurant Concepts — hosted a giant media cattle call to preview its menu of au courant foodie trends.
With a menu devised by author Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen follows the anti-inflammatory diet, dubbed "Hollywood's new favorite eating plan." It asserts that saturated fats and refined sugar make your body release chemicals that cause inflammation, which purportedly leads to illness, including heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
The menu accommodates all your special-interest eating tribes including celiacs, Paleoliths, vegetarians and vegans. It also serves as an amusing one-stop for all of the restaurant world's trendiest ingredients and buzzwords. Culled from the menu and press materials:
grass-fed, sustainably raised, organic, season's best, fresh, natural, nutritionally dense, sea buckthorn, kale, Anasazi beans, quinoa, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich, bio-dynamic, umami, juice, smoothie, kale, eco-friendly, compostable take-out packaging, renewable, recycled plastic soda bottles
Fox had previously announced that it would open a True Food Kitchen in Austin — but that was before its arch-rival Seasons 52 settled here first, with two branches, in Plano and at NorthPark Center. This marks the seventh in the chain, following locations in Arizona, California and Colorado.
It's in the old Corner Bakery (which moved a few doors down), and it's a bright, attractive space with an open kitchen, a citrus-y color scheme, decorative produce displays, butcher-block wood and lime-green leather banquettes; the vegan nod extends to the menu, not the furniture. None of the staffers seemed to be over 25 and sported many piercings, including "gaged" ears.
Servers all mechanically hyped the onion-and-fig tart appetizer and the squash pie, which is funny-ironic because most canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash. Big sellers include the bison burger with kale salad and the panang curry, which held a broccoli spear or two and a dulling quantity of tofu.
An unwieldy veggie burger called the "inside out quinoa burger" dispensed with the bun: Two cumin-spiced quinoa patties served as the top and bottom, enclosing a filling of lettuce, tomato, red onion, hummus and feta cheese — an impossibly tall stack requiring fork and knife.
The margarita had ginger and agave, and the beer selection included an organic acai berry wheat ale from Eel River Brewing. The meal was gratis but checks were dropped at the table, likely to make sure the servers got tipped. (Sure hope they weren't holding their breath for the journalism tightwads.)
Two drinks; one "autumnal salad" with squash, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower; two entrees; and one flourless chocolate cake added up to $61, plus tip.