Monday, October 6, 2014

True Food Kitchen

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True Food
Image Courtesy of True Food Kitchen
First off, thanks for being patient with us while we took an extended summer break! A great friend of ours who works for C.Fox Communications, Sara, invited us to a preview dinner at True Food Kitchen. We paused to ponder why we hadn't heard about this place, and after a quick Google search, we realized why. It's in the Mosaic District. A new up-and-coming area in Merrifield, Virginia. We liked that True Food Kitchen tries to make regular dishes healthier by using all natural ingredients. We decided to pony up the car trip for Sara, hopped in my Jetta, and headed out to VA.

When we arrived to True Food Kitchen, we were immediately attracted to the great outdoor seating options, and the huge industrial/rustic space. Nothing like the tiny DC restaurants we are accustomed to.  Thank you, suburbia!  The event was packed, and we were told that we'd have to wait 45 minutes for a table even though we had an 8:30 reservation.  Frustrated, we decided to just take a spot at one of the long high top tables near the bar.  It ended up being serendipitous, as we sat next to True Food Kitchen marketing moguls and learned a ton about the restaurant concept and had details on each dish we sampled.  We learned that True Food Kitchen will cater any dish to different dining restrictions. They can make any dish gluten free or dairy free.   This will be a blessing for families in NOVA who are looking for a place to take kids with different food allergies! (FYI: We also learned that True Food Kitchen doesn't normally take reservations, so we'll let this one slip.).  

On to the good stuff.  The drinks.  Wow, the drinks.  We, of course, were immediately attracted to the many ginger-inspired drinks. I ordered the "Spontaneous Happiness," a cross between a St. Germain Cocktail and a Moscow Mule.  It appeared and disappeared as I sucked it down in under 10 minutes.  Liz decided to go with the ginger margarita and thought it was a flavorful twist on the classic.  TFK has a ton of hand crafted cocktails and we watched all throughout dinner as juices were created for each beverage.

We sampled three appetizers. First, the edamame dumplings. These were a light twist on a classic dish. Better than the original, I thought. They had an ultradelicate wonton-wrapper and filled with a creamy edamame filling. They were topped with a very light savory sauce that perfectly complemted the dumplings.

Next up, we had the caramelized onion "tart", with black fig and Gorgonzola. The title was a bit misleading though, as this dish turned out to be more of a flatbread than anything. It was very good, but nothing that we couldn't get elsewhere.

We definitely saved the best for last. The kale and avocado dip was phenomenal. Like guacamole but with shredded bits of kale mixed in for that hidden health kick. Served with crispy pitas and cotija cheese, we devoured it, agreeing that we need to start making this for our next party in lieu of traditional guac.

The list of entrees was seafood heavy, a great thing in our book. I went with the red chili shrimp pasta. It reminded me of a healthy lo mein and was a plentiful serving. I loved it and took the leftovers home to my boyfriend, who also agreed it was delicious.

Liz sampled the miso-glazed black cod. It was served in a bowl with bok choy and was swimming in a soy sauce based broth, but she found the broth to overwhelm the fish. Basically, she was jealous of my amazing shrimp pasta.

For dessert, we tried the banana chia seed pudding and flour-less chocolate tart. At this point we were so stuffed, but both were a delicious way to end the meal.
The pudding was reminiscent of rice pudding, but the chia seeds added an additional textural element. It was heavy on the banana flavoring and topped with banana chips. I wasn't so sure about this one when Liz ordered it, but actually enjoyed it. 

The chocolate tart was decadent and delicious.  Topped with a generous heaping of vanilla ice cream, it only would have been improved only if served warmer.

Overall, we really enjoyed True Food Kitchen. We think it will be a great option for VA residents and know it will do well in the popular Mosaic District.  We can't wait until one opens in DC....fingers crossed....

*Please note that while we did receive this meal for free, the opinions expressed here are our own. And, though the meal was free, we always tip our server.

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