True Food Kitchen looks like how I’d imagine the cafeteria at Crate & Barrel headquarters would look like. It’s one big, airy space filled with clean lines, bright green booths alongside yellow chairs and reclaimed wood tables adorned with potted plants. One wall is covered in birch trees and another with cabinets stacked high with items that look straight out of the home accessories section of a C&B catalog. It’s a nice, bright and open layout with a direct view from the host stand at the front of the restaurant all the way to the back of the kitchen.
The concept behind the new Mosaic District restaurant, our server informs us, is “seasonal-scratch” and it’s reflected in the menu filled with simple dishes – heavy on the veggies – and an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. There’s also kale. Lots and lots of kale. If Mom’s Organic Market is your go-to grocery store, this place is for you.
From “natural refreshments” chock-full with antioxidants to organic, quinoa- and kale-centric plates, the menu is a veritable minefield of healthy-eating buzzwords. Vegetarian dishes are plentiful with starters like shiitake and tofu lettuce cups, edamame dumplings and a caramelized onion tart. There’s enough salads to have a different one every day of the week and three out of four pizzas are meat-free. Not eating gluten? No problem. There’s double-digit dishes ready to accommodate including spaghetti squash casserole, turkey lasagna and an “inside out” quinoa burger – no special ordering required.
Meat-eaters can get their fill, too. While nothing here will rival the carnivore paradise that is B Side, there are several seafood and poultry options including a pair of burgers (turkey and bison). And because one can never know too much about what they eat, reminiscent of a “Portlandia” sketch, upon ordering the steak tacos we were given a brief history of our impending meal’s background including its diet (grass-fed) and home country (Uruguay).
True Food Kitchen takes the healthy to the drink menu, too. No, not mixed-drinks (though there is a sizable cocktail list here, too) but a lineup of “natural refreshments” consisting of a variety of juices and seasonal sodas – all made in house, of course. Here you’ll find the Medicine Man with sea buckthorn, pomegranate, cranberry and black tea, a mix of coconut water, pineapple, vanilla and orange juice called the Hangover RX and something called Kale-Aid. We went simple with a cucumber-honey lemonade combo and were not disappointed.
All this healthy, “seasonal-scratch” eating won’t come cheap. While most lunch dishes are reasonable in the $10-$15 range, portion sizes are on the smallish side and when you add a couple of fancy juices or teas and a starter to your meal, a lunch for two can quickly reach $50. And while cocktails like the ginger margarita, spiced apple sidecar or Thai grapefruit martini sound appealing, at 12 to 13 bucks a pop, you’re better off grabbing a fifth of organic vodka at the ABC store and drinking at home.
True Food Kitchen serves both lunch and dinner throughout the week and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
True Food Kitchen | 2190 District Avenue, Fairfax | 571-326-1616 | truefoodkitchen.com