And just like that, it’s the holiday season. Thanksgiving feasts, eggnog lattes, too many cocktails…it all calls for a cleansing meal at True Food Kitchen. But to enjoy said meal, you’ll require some patience: The Cherry Creek restaurant (which is owned by Fox Restaurant Concepts) opened just shy of a month ago and it’s been on a wait ever since.

Once you finally get a table (reservations are for groups of eight or more), order a vitamin-dense, refreshing apple-ginger-carrot tonic to sip while looking over the menu. The premise here is real food—vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains—that doesn’t come across as health food. The menu is based on Dr. Andrew Weil‘s anti-inflammatory diet and his scientific understanding of food as fuel. Ingredients are selected and dishes are composed for how they interact with the body and how efficiently they produce energy. Ultimately, though, it comes down to this: “If it doesn’t taste good and isn’t satisfying, we don’t put it on the menu,” restaurateur Sam Fox says.

Take the delicious caramelized onion tart (pictured) topped with smoked garlic, figs, and Gorgonzola. This is not exactly a portrait of health food, but split the appetizer and add a side of the restaurant’s legendary kale salad and you’ve got a balanced meal that’s coursing with nutrients. And so it goes across the menu: The harvest chopped salad is a jumble of roasted squash, walnuts, apple, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese; the grass-fed bison burger comes stacked on a flax seed bun and dressed with mushrooms, onion, a small dollop of mayo, and Parmesan. This is flavorful food with a conscience. Perhaps best of all, the menu is clearly marked with dishes that are gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan. And for anyone dealing with a food allergy or intolerance, True Food is a form of Mecca.

Bonus: Pick up a copy of True Food’s cookbook. I am obsessed. Within a couple of weeks, I’ve made a dozen of the recipes (favorites include immunity soup and barbecued shrimp with mushrooms and soba noodles) and all were crowd pleasers. According to Fox, about 20 percent of the recipes come straight from the restaurant and the remaining 80 percent are new items. Whatever the ratio, I’m so impressed that I’ve purchased four copies of the book to give as gifts.

2800 E. Second Ave., 720-509-7661

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.