LYFE Kitchen in Downtown Culver City officially opened its doors Monday to the public. On Friday, Patch attended a preview dinner hosted by LYFE’s Ambassador – Olympic gold swimming medalist Janet Evans – for a chance to sample some of the menu items created by celebrity Chef Art Smith and vegan Chef Tal Ronnen.
The healthy restaurant chain is led by McDonald’s Former Global President Mike Roberts, investment banker Stephen Sidwell and Mike Donahue, a 20-year veteran of McDonald’s USA.
The leadership team brought in renowned chefs Smith and Ronnen to create the meals that are all less than 600 calories, have less than 1,000 mg of sodium, and to create a menu where the most expensive entrée was $14.
They also brought on Evans, who told Friday night’s 40 invited guests, which included a slew of athletes including diving Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, that introducing LYFE Kitchen to the public made her feel like “tonight is my wedding night.”
She spoke about how much she embraced the brand of healthy cooking and eating (see attached video) and said as both a mother and an athlete she understood how important and difficult it is to find time to prepare and eat healthy meals.
LYFE stands for Love Your Food Every Day and all the products are from local vendors including Thorne Family Farm, Weiser Family Farms and Kenter Canyon Farms.
The inside of LYFE Kitchen is made entirely out of recycled and/or sustainable materials and there’s a fresh herb wall as well as a hydroponic vegetable garden wall.
As guests enter the restaurant, they’ll be greeted by a large overhead menu where they will place and pay for their order. Upon receiving a numbered electronic buzzer, you simply find your seat and the wait staff will find you when your order is ready.
Friday night’s dinner was held in a back room that can be closed off from the main area – a great venue for holding a private function.
There are dozens of healthy items on the menu (each listed with its calorie and sodium content). At Friday night’s dinner, guests were offered a tasting menu that included three different whole wheat flatbread crusts: BBQ chicken with free-range grilled chicken; roasted mushroom and goat cheese with a sweet pomegranate-balsamic drizzle and shishito pepper with basil and tofu ricotta.
Starters were followed by a rich, velvety vegan sweet corn chowder made with cashew nut cream. Hearty and satisfying it was difficult to believe it was only 181 calories. A salad of beets and farro followed the soup, made with organic field greens and a maple-sherry vinaigrette.
Guests then had a choice of roasted loch duart salmon with steamed baby bok choy and ginger miso or Art’s unfried chicken served with roasted Brussels sprouts. Vegetarians received Art’s unfried chicken made with the restaurant’s choice of vegetable plant-based protein – Gardein.
Dessert was a chocolate budino – much like a chocolate mousse (but only 211 calories) made with pomegranate-soaked chia seeds and topped with slivered almonds.
The meal was accompanied by either a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc organic wine. However, there are plenty of wine and beer options, as well as freshly squeezed juices, In addition, all the wines are served on tap from barrels – not bottles – to maintain LYFE’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.
On Monday morning, LYFE held its official ribbon cutting ceremony with members of Culver City’s City Council and the Culver City Chamber of Commerce.
LYFE is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at 7 a.m. Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday, at 9540 Washington Blvd.
For more information visit www.LYFEKitchen.com