I heard a rumor that the fledgling chain, which debuted in Phoenix last year, was planning on opening a second restaurant in Orange County. I checked with Debbie Porter, VP of Marketing for Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC), who confirms that they are indeed looking at OC locations right now, although "nothing is final."
A partnership between FRC (founded by restaurateur Sam Fox) and author and skincare guru Dr Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen serves "globally inspired cuisine that nourishes the mind, body and spirit."
That means seasonal, local produce, wild or sustainably harvested seafood, hormone-free meat, minimal dairy and so on. TFK also claims to be the only restaurant in the world selling olivello juice, an extract from sea buckthorn berries that's apparently really good for us.
The interior design is swanky but eco-friendly (waterless urinals!), with large tables for communal dining.
Just looking at the lengthy menu is lowering my cholesterol, as well as making my mouth water: Appetizers include Curried Cauliflower Soup with Cashews and Cilantro; there's a wonderful-sounding salad of farm vegetables, manchego cheese, pistachios and sesame chili vinaigrette; while my entrée of choice would be Wild Alaskan Halibut with Red Quinoa, Local Fava Beans and Herb Emulsion.
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The excellent drinks list covers sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines, plus sakes and "natural refreshments" that sound waaaaaaay too healthy. Bizarrely, among the beers, there's Tecate Light. (Presumably people do drink that stuff, despite the awful, shouty ads).
I don't know anyone who's been to the original location, but a quick scan of Yelp shows reviews are overall positive (average rating: three and a half out of five stars).
Interestingly, PF Chang's is providing financial backing to the new venture, while simultaneously scaling back its expansion of the Pei Wei chain. Personally, I quite like Pei Wei, but if I had to choose, I'd prefer to see a more interesting, health-oriented eatery such as True Kitchen hit OC. Then all we'd need is a Wagamama and we'd be sorted.