True Food Kitchen brings health-conscious food approved by integrative wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil to Scottsdale Quarter. We grabbed a seat on the heated wrap-around patio and checked out the lunch menu at the second Arizona installment of this Fox Restaurant Concepts' joint this weekend. The surroundings and the menu fit the good-and-good-for-you bill, but the entrées especially didn't wow us.
First up: Natural Refreshments, i.e. sodas without the high fructose corn syrup and artificial coloring. The grapefruit and yuzu juice in the Red Moon, above left left, remind us of Ruby Red Squirt, a touch heavy on the ruby red. The Medicine Man packs antioxidants that will really clean out your system (and not in the way they intended) with olivello, pomegranate, and cranberry juices. We'd stick to our healthy green tea standby next time, which, by the way, comes with free refills, or a nice glass of organic, biodynamic and/or sustainable red wine: Hey, it's heart healthy!
Skip the Local Vegetable Crudités, which is basically raw vegetables you could pick up at the farmers' market and enjoy at home, and order the Shiitake and Tofu Lettuce Cups. Diced small, the mushrooms and tofu mix with ginger, cashews and garlic, get tossed in a tasty teriyaki sauce and served up on crisp lettuce leaves: These will make believers out of even the most skeptical tofu doubters.
More meat-, gluten-, and animal byproduct-free alternatives and a too-die-for dessert after the jump.
For entrees, we check out the lunch-only Quinoa Tabbouleh salad with beets and raw almonds atop a bed of local arugula. We'd cut back on the quinoa, a protein-packed mass of interconnected seeds and sprouts that overtakes everything else, in favor of more greens, almonds and pomegranate seeds. If you're not a veg-head you'll probably want to skip this in favor of a more familiar protein that doesn't look like infestation on your plate.
The Organic Ricotta Ravioli comes al dente and packed with cheese but little flavor: The maitake mushrooms and kale pesto lend a subtle nuance to the dish, but nothing's as pronounced as the peppers, which there simply aren't enough of to spice things up.
Dessert's the standout and worth a trip back (preferably) all by itself: An indulgent Chocolate and Banana Tart. Spot-on proportions over über-rich flavors balance each other out: A chocolate and Brazil nut base laden with melted dark chocolate with a slight bitterness, brûlée'd fresh banana slices and whipped cream. De-freaking-licious.
We'd grab a real drink at the bar, like the Hot Orchard (hard) Cider, and a seat by the fire pit overlooking the courtyard in the concrete jungle that is Scottsdale quarter and order not one but two of these. Who really wants to share something this good?
True Food Kitchen maximizes it's prime real-estate: The interior's open layout, high ceilings, large sliding glass doors, and citrus color scheme bring the outdoors in. An on-site herb garden and smoker lend to farm-fresh feel. The airiness of the place does give us second pause when we almost walk into the wall-less kitchen. Sometimes, a little secrecy and sterility is nice (Read: We don't want unknown things wafting into our food).
The restaurant offers lunch, dinner and a weekend brunch, but appetizers and desserts are the two meals we'd come back for. We're planning on fueling our next Apple Genius Bar visit and H&M shopping spree with lettuce cups and winding down with chocolate. That's probably not the fruit-and-vegetable rich diet Dr. Weil had in mind... but it's definitely a step up from Panda Express and Dairy Queen!