There’s no shortage of good-for-you food options in Pasadena. Souplantation will always be my ride or die, but True Food Kitchen is a worthy newcomer, a self-described “health-driven, seasonal restaurant merging nutrient-rich ingredients with a flavor-forward menu.”
True Food Kitchen is so L.A., in the most stereotypical sense. The seating is almost exclusively outdoors, while the menu is based on an anti-inflammatory-diet food pyramid. I mean… While the promises of healthful eating were attractive, The Astronomer, June, and I came here to satisfy a more basic need: hunger.
The Astronomer and I each ordered a drink to start. For me, the “Farmers Market Sangria” ($11) made with spiced brandy, lime, organic red wine, apple, and pear. And for him, a “Ginger Margarita” ($12) with honey, lemon, elderflower liqueur, and añejo tequila. Both were solid.
Our party of three shared two appetizers. Up first were the “Edamame Dumplings” ($10) served in a dashi broth with white truffle oil and fresh mint and cilantro. From the dumplings’ toothsome skins to their flavorful filling, every element here was very good. The flourish of truffle oil wasn’t necessary as the delicate dashi could stand on its own.
Also excellent was the “Wild Caught Albacore Tataki ($13) with avocado, jalapeño, toasted sesame, and yuzu ponzu. The accoutrements were just right for highlighting the freshness of the fish.
Moving on to mains, I selected the tofu bowl ($18) with “ancient grains,” miso glazed sweet potatoes, turmeric, charred onion, snow peas, grilled portobello, avocado, and hemp seed. Each component was super-flavorful on its own yet played well with the others.
The Astronomer’s “Scottish Steelhead Salmon” ($24) was cooked perfectly and served with a delightful smoked onion farro, arugula, roasted beets, and cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto.
Dinner at True Food Kitchen was better than anticipated—the gorgeous space coupled with the flavorful cooking made for an all around pleasant evening. The price point is a touch high to dine here weekly, but it can certainly be an every-so-often treat, especially when more health conscious family members come to town. Speaking of which, my mother-in-law would love this place. She’s visiting this weekend.
True Food Kitchen
168 West Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105
One year ago: Mian by Chengdu Taste – San Gabriel
Two years ago: Helena’s Hawaiian Food – Honolulu
Three years ago: Hominy Grill – Charleston
Four years ago: Tofu King – Arcadia
Five years ago: Chego – Los Angeles (Palms)
Six years ago: La Super Rica Taqueria – Santa Barbara
Seven years ago: Pappa Rich – Pasadena
Eight years ago: Bánh Mì Mỹ Tho – Alhambra
Nine years ago: Vegetation Profile: Marian Plum
Ten years ago: K.C.’s Pastries – Philadelphia