True Food Kitchen, a restaurant that targets health-conscious diners, opens Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Warehouse District. Founded by integrative medicine advocate Dr. Andrew Weil, the chain counts Oprah Winfrey as an investor and operates 28 locations in 12 states. The New Orleans location is at 801 St. Charles Ave., on the ground floor of The Julia at Saint Charles residential development.
The restaurant covers 6,500 square feet of bright, airy space with bar and table seating and full table service. Decor is contemporary and features light woods, bright green banquettes and abundant plant life on all sides.
Container gardens of fresh herbs line the sidewalk outside the restaurant. A colorful piece of art spanning an entire interior wall instructs diners to “Eat More Color,” one of the principles of Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet that underpins the restaurant’s menu and philosophy. That artwork features locally sourced materials from The Green Project and ArcGNO.
The extensive menu will change seasonally and the opening iteration features pears, butternut squash, beets and Brussels sprouts. Culinary influences range from Asian to Middle Eastern, and menu items can be customized to meet many dietary regimens including keto, paleo, vegan and gluten. Servers are schooled in ingredients, nutrition information and preparations.
The menu includes appetizers such as edamame dumplings with dashi and white truffle oil ($11) and a roasted beet and goat cheese flatbread ($10). There is a simple salad of kale, lemon, garlic, grana Padano and breadcrumbs ($10), and more ambitious combinations such as butternut squash, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cannellini beans and more with horseradish vinaigrette ($14).
Shareable thin-crust pizzas range from $13 to $16 and gluten free versions are available. There is a basic margherita and a pie with butternut squash, caramelized onions, kale, dried cranberries and vegan almond ricotta.
True Food Kitchen has a selection of bowls, offering varieties such as spicy Panang curry and Korean noodle. Bowls range from $12 - $14, and proteins can be added for an additional charge.
The menu also includes hearty fare such as steak tacos and burgers, both with grass-fed beef. The Unbeetable Burger is made from beets and served with kuzu, jicama slaw and crushed avocado. The bun is dairy-free and a gluten free one is available.
Desserts also receive an anti-inflammatory makeover in offerings such as flourless chocolate cake, served beneath a scoop of coconut-based vanilla ice cream.
For weekend brunch, the kitchen offers juices, smoothies and nonalcoholic refreshers including the Hangover Rx, a combination of pineapple, orange, honey and coconut water.
The bar has a large selection of wines by the glass and bottle. Many cocktails feature organic liquors, including a Beets by Jon with organic vodka, red beet, lemon and pineapple and the ginger margarita made with organic reposado tequila, ginger liqueur, sea buckthorn and honey.
True Food Kitchen will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with weekend brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
True Food Kitchen
801 St. Charles Ave., 504-558-3900