One of the best times of the year for DC-area foodies are local restaurant weeks, where DMV eateries roll out the red carpet and offer prix fixe menus that showcase seasonal flavors for a special price. I always keep a close eye to what’s on offer for restaurant weeks in Bethesda and DC, and when I spotted True Food Kitchen’s menus, I immediately made reservations.
I’ve encountered True Food Kitchen once before, a few years ago in Atlanta and was impressed by the health-conscious and special diet-friendly menu. With this location so close to DC, I’m long overdue for paying it a visit and Bethesda Magazine Restaurant Week was the perfect excuse to finally stop by.
True Food Kitchen’s menu is built around the tenants of the anti-inflammatory diet. While not dedicated gluten-free, the menu is remarkably gluten-free friendly, with annotations to indicate options for vegetarians and vegans. The restaurant has a scratch kitchen, so everything is made to order, which makes them particularly adept at accommodating allergies (be sure to let the wait staff know and they’ll flag dietary restrictions for the kitchen).
Because I stopped by for restaurant week, I glanced at the full menu, but honed in on the three course dinner selection curated for the occasion. They have separate lunch menus during this week as well (offered Monday through Friday). With lots of seasonal dishes included on the dinner menu (indicated by the pomegranate icon), I was excited to see gluten-free and dairy-free options for each course for a fixed rate of $40.
Because I do not drink alcohol, I was able to substitute a refresher for the wine course. I chose the Original Ginger (O.G.), which features ginger, lime honey, and sparkling water. U was expecting a sharper taste of ginger in the brew, but enjoyed the fizzy water and level of sweetness (not really sweet at all). It was a delicious and refreshing way to start the meal.
For the first course, I selected the roasted brussels sprouts because I’m simply incapable of not ordering brussels whenever I see them on a menu. The roasted vegetables were generously doused in a incredibly delicious miso sesame vinaigrette and topped with beautiful chili threads, which packed sweetness and spiciness in two powerful punches. Joined with meaty mushrooms, the portion was quite generous and I worried about filling up even though it was only the first course! It was a most auspicious way to start the meal, and certainly kicked off my restaurant week dinner with a bang.
For the entree, I selected the butternut squash pizza, and was amazed at first glance, when it was presented, that it was both gluten and dairy free. The pizza featured butternut squash, caramelized onion, roasted garlic, kale, dried cranberry, and sage. The non-dairy cheese used was a vegan almond ricotta, which was creamy and had a lovely texture and flavor.
The combination of sweet, smoky, and savory in every slice was truly remarkable, and made the pizza stand out, as it was a flavor combination I haven’t encountered before in this form. The crust, was chewy and had a nice flavor, but struggled to support the weight of the generously-applied toppings. It truly was a feast for the eyes as well as my tastebuds!
By the third course, I definitely was quite full, but I made sure to save room for a few bites of the grand finale: True Food Kitchen’s squash pie. Just when I thought the first two courses were outdoing each other, this pie was the perfect way to make this meal a home run.
The graham cracker-like crust had a nice flavor and held together without being stereotypically crumbly (as many gluten-free pie crusts are). The squash filling was hearty and had a nice balance of spices to channel the full fragrance of fall flavors. The coconut milk whipped cream was creamy and cool, perfectly cutting the richness of the pie and providing a nice textural contrast from the density of the pie.
It was sheer perfection, deliciously showing off True Food Kitchen’s commitment to seasonally-inspired recipes that are as good for you as they are delicious.
The whole meal, really, was a love letter to healthy eating and the season’s best flavors. While I walked away happy from my first True Food Kitchen dining experience, I left truly awed by this showcase of gluten-free and vegan food. Each course was a masterpiece, and although I couldn’t eat every bite, I had no regrets leaving with a huge food food coma, completely stuffed and completely happy.
While I don’t frequent the Bethesda area often, True Food Kitchen certainly gives me an incentive to increase the frequency of visits to the area. I look forward to future visits, and will be sure to keep an eye out for the next iteration of restaurant week!