First Bite: True Food Kitchen In The Woodlands Focuses On Dr. Andrew Weil’s Diet
The second Greater Houston-area True Food Kitchen is now open at 9595 Six Pines in The Woodlands. (The first opened in July of 2014 in BLVD Place on Post Oak in Houston.) The menus adhere to the principals of Dr. Andrew Weil’s “anti-inflammatory diet.” It was originally co-founded by multiple-time James Beard Award nominee Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts but has since apparently been spun off into its own company.
The new True Food Kitchen in The Woodlands is in the former Café Express location and features large indoor and outdoor dining areas. Houston Food Finder was invited to a pre-opening “family and friends” event to try some menu items at the new location. The dishes were a wild-caught Albacore Tataki appetizer, the Daily Market Soup which (was chicken sausage, tomato and kale), a poke bowl, and lasagna Bolognese.
The wild-caught Albacore Tataki includes avocado, jalapeño, toasted sesame and yuzu ponzu. Avocado was puréed into a firm but silky and spreadable cream and the fresh jalapeño was sliced into crunchy rings that were also lightly brined. The ponzu had a tangy citrus flavor and acidity that greatly brightened the dish. All of the ingredients complimented the very lightly seared, thinly sliced albacore tuna that was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was a well developed and presented dish.
The Daily Market Soup had a savory tomato-vegetable stock filled with a generous amount of chicken sausage and kale — so much so that this could easily be a light meal. The restrained seasoning was spot on as it allowed the tomato and chicken sausage to be the stars.
The lasagna Bolognese includes fennel chicken sausage, shitake mushrooms, spinach and lemon ricotta and is finished with whole basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. As listed in the menu, the pasta used is gluten-free. Basil adds a fresh edge to a dish that defines the word “umami.” It’s a generous and filling portion, too, with plenty of spinach and chicken sausage.
The poke bowl has so much going on that each bite can be a intriguing combination of different ingredients. For ingredients, the menu lists wild caught albacore, avocado, quinoa, mushroom, snow pea, cucumber, cashew, ginger (in the form of gari, or pickled ginger) and turmeric ponzu. It actually had even more going on, as there was also radish, green onion, and shaved cilantro stems. In other words, True Food Kitchen’s house poke is a really well developed and fun version of a Hawaiian favorite. The texture of the crunchy snow peas, radish, cucumber and shaved cilantro stems contrasted with the fish, while the the turmeric ponzu added welcome brightness to each bite of fish.
The restaurant was quite full, with both the inside and outside dining areas at capacity, yet the service out of the gate was terrific. Orders arrived to tables quickly and were brought pleasant and well trained wait staff. That’s impressive for a newly opened restaurant.
The menu has notes next to the dishes that indicate which are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or biodynamic, making it easy to order based on preference or needs. Of note: there is an extensive brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 10:00am.
True Food Kitchen is at 9595 Six Pines in The Woodlands. The hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.