If there’s a dish that strikes fear in the hearts of many food lovers, it’s the vegetable platter—as in, rubbery celery sticks, dried-out baby carrots, and bottled ranch dressing. That’s not the case at True Food Kitchen, a mini chain of six restaurants in Colorado (the Cherry Creek location opened in October), California, and Arizona. Here, one of the most popular appetizers is the crudités: a bowl spilling over with crisp radishes, broccolini, string beans, sweet peppers, tricolored carrots, and cucumbers served with tangy tzatziki and an earthy black-olive dip. The colorful showstopper incites dish envy as it makes its way through the dining room to your table.
With this menu item—and many others—True Food Kitchen is capitalizing on a trend dubbed “stealthy healthy.” There are several ways to implement this idea, but the basic philosophy breaks down like this: Although people say they want to eat nutritiously, most diners associate “health food” with a lack of taste, which means chefs must get clever. That might mean substituting raisin paste for sugar or using words like “natural” instead of “healthy” on a menu. Of course, the easiest way to get people to eat well is quite simple: “We make our food tasty first,” says True Food manager Tyler Rebbe. “It just also happens to be healthy.” 2800 E. Second Ave., Suite 101, 720-509-7661, foxrc.com