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True food in fashion valley

Victor Lieberman Aug 18, 2012 11:28 PM

Exceptional food. Terribly run restaurant. 20 minute wait for a table even though there were many empty spots. 40 minute wait for lunch to be served. Salad with chicken came without the chicken. Understaffed. No system. And it's a shame, because everything was delicious: salmon with kale salad, teriyaki rice bowl, thai shrimp dumplings. And of course the Mediterranean salad.

  1. chris2269 Aug 19, 2012 02:38 PM

    That's a shame. My go to is always Love Boat Sushi if I'm grabbing lunch in FV. Never had a bad experience there. Yes I'v been to Kato in Encinitas and Nomura in LA ...sometimes I want sushi that is near by and still good.

    As far as true Food I think they have run their grace period of opening jitters. Sad about the bad service. I would email them exactly what you said in your post and see how they respond. That will say a lot about the management.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chris2269
      Victor Lieberman Aug 20, 2012 11:54 AM

      They were very nice when we complained. Took wine off the check and gave me a bag of muffins for my friends at the Nordstrom store in the mall. It's just such a disconnect between the quality of the food and their "system" for serving it. We saw tables just waiting and waiting and other people getting pizza's in 5 minutes. They need a re-do on the management side. But I will email them. It's a good idea.

    2. Ms. Verde Aug 20, 2012 12:08 PM

      Went there by myself about a week ago. I got in on the first wave of lunch, so no wait. I brought a book, and was satisfied for the wait time. The watermelon salad was delicious. I'm hoping your experience with the system was a fluke, because it's a nice option.

      1. Dagney Aug 24, 2012 07:08 PM

        Ohhh sad to read this....

        We were going to eat there 3 weeks ago and it looked like a madhouse, like a cafeteria. Our initial impression was poor, and I am sorry to read the dining experience is uneven. I might pop in there for appetizers just to give it try.

        1. Dagney Oct 30, 2012 07:13 PM

          We finally made it to True Food for lunch today.

          I am having trouble articulating the experience....exactly...there was something weird about it.

          The greeting was fine. Not overly hyper or spazzy. Our server was polite and efficient. He asked if we had dined with them before, (no). The server told us the company line mini-speech about their organic menu.

          We split the shrimp dumplings. They were good. Not blow-us-away amazing, but good. I had the Mediterranean Salad with chicken and my husband had the Bison burger. My salad was delicious, though a bit pricey ($17). Husband said his burger was fine, though quite dry, and he would have preferred a good sauce to balance the drier nature of the bison and the uber-organic bun. Overall, good food, but not worth the $63 after tax and tip.

          True Food is pretty heavy with concept. The plants everywhere, the reclaimed wood floor, the butcher block tables, the organic-we-don't-believe-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup speech, the "natural" feel of the room.... All of these things are supposed to make you think you are experiencing a down-home, earthy, grass roots "true foodie" meal, but you're not. You are experiencing a marketing campaign. A mall restaurant. Maybe that's why I thought it was weird? It's a mall restaurant but they cram this more organic than thou image down your throat, and at the end of the day, it's just over-priced food.

          I felt the same frustration years ago when researching, and subsequently ruling out, possible destinations for an "eco" vacation. These places that marketed green, less is more, imagery were always wildly expensive. I laughed that we literally could not afford to pay for less amenities.

          I would go back to True Food if I did not have other options. i.e, if I was in a rush, needed to grab something reasonably healthy to go, and I was standing next to it. I am afraid my review is very low on specifics....there was something so "veneer" about the place. Just...odd. and expensive.

          A non-food observation: I don't know who on their design team thought the co-ed hand-washing area was a keen idea, but from this woman's perspective, it is TERRIBLE. The ladies room is the ladies room. I want to brush my hair, primp, and reapply lipgloss while NOT in the company of strange men.

          Overall, decent food, decent service, weird ambiance.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Dagney
            The Office Goat Oct 31, 2012 12:32 PM

            We ate there about a week ago with my kids and my parents. Not cheap, tasted good. If I was already at Fashion Valley and couldn't go somewhere else, I'd eat there before most of the other nearby places. Beats the Cheesecake Factory ;-)

            1. re: The Office Goat
              Dagney Oct 31, 2012 01:06 PM

              lol!! oh heck yes it does.

              1. re: Dagney
                Fake Name Oct 31, 2012 01:47 PM


                So you've been ?

                1. re: Fake Name
                  Dagney Oct 31, 2012 02:07 PM

                  Well, ...yeah. I couldn't help it! It wasn't my fault! It was about four years ago for a night out with co-workers. The very same co-workers who gasped with joy over the new location.

                  1. re: Dagney
                    Fake Name Nov 1, 2012 01:03 PM

                    I'm sorry.

                    Membership revoked.

                    ; )

                    1. re: Fake Name
                      Dagney Nov 1, 2012 02:57 PM

                      lol...I actually had moment of thinking.."wait! no! I'm sorry! They MADE me do it!"

              2. re: The Office Goat
                Cathy Oct 31, 2012 02:05 PM

                Try Zodiac, the restaurant inside the Nieman Marcus- old fashioned service, high quality. An espresso cup of consume and hot popover (with a side of strawberry butter) brought to your table before you order... Not like being in a mall restaurant at all.

                1. re: Cathy
                  svnirvana Oct 31, 2012 02:46 PM

                  Zodiac at NM is good and also I think Nordstrom Cafe is a step above "mall food:.

            2. SaltyRaisins Nov 1, 2012 09:07 AM

              Frankly, the front of house service is laughably bad. Clueless. Never got the chance to eat there because they really did not want us to. And we're not so bad looking.

              Seriously, clueless.

              Too bad. Cheesecake Factory has customer service down to a fine art in comparison. And their Texas Armadillo Chile Stuffed Bacon Bloaters Over Noodles is great.

              5 Replies
              1. re: SaltyRaisins
                RhonelyInsanediego Nov 1, 2012 09:41 AM

                Love to hear this story! A restaurant that doesn't want customers??? Were you talking on your cell? Not wearing shirt or shoes? In the company of screaming babies? What?

                1. re: RhonelyInsanediego
                  SaltyRaisins Nov 1, 2012 09:55 AM

                  I showed up for lunch a bit before noon, went to the host-stand-plinth or whatever it's called and asked for a table for two. The restaurant was half empty both inside and out. There were about ten people in various groups waiting outside. I was told by BOTH hostesses that it would be a "35 minute wait". I asked politely if there were other seating options and she says "yeah, at the bar." I asked if there was seating available at said bar because it looked pretty full, and she said "I don't know. You can go look if you want." I asked her and her colleague if they would be willing to do that for me since my hands were full and I was waiting for my girl who was about to meet me there. She said "No, we don't control bar seating," which is fine (never sure why this is standard practice, but whatever), but struck me as rude/no training on her part. Half-empty restaurant plus hostesses not helpful or not seating polite customers equals not wanting customers to me. Seemed absurd, so I bailed.

                  1. re: SaltyRaisins
                    RhonelyInsanediego Nov 1, 2012 10:26 AM

                    Thanks, it does sound pretty lame. Bad customer service = no repeat business, or in your case no business at all. I would have "bailed" as well.

                    1. re: SaltyRaisins
                      Fake Name Nov 1, 2012 01:06 PM


                      Plinth. Great word!

                    2. re: RhonelyInsanediego
                      Fake Name Nov 1, 2012 01:05 PM

                      "Were you talking on your cell? Not wearing shirt or shoes? In the company of screaming babies? What?"

                      Sadly, these have not been barriers to entry for diners at other restaurants.

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