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Truxton's American Bistro: Old Traditions, New Flavors

By David Boegaard

For many years, American food was fairly utilitarian. Dominated by immigrants, new settlers did not know how to create a cuisine around the local produce, and were too busy building towns and cities to make it a priority. Over the last century, most of US tables were taken over by preservatives, canned vegetables, sugary sauces in a bottle, and fast-food restaurants. These advancements ended starvation and put vegetables on the plates of midwesterners in the midst of winter. But nothing tasted very good. In the last twenty years, California has led the way in developing a whole new cuisine, often based around California's bountiful local produce and the experimental, naturalistic bent of its people. Only recently has there been a return to classic American fare. But with the subtlety and knowledge gained in the interim, American cuisine finally tastes great. It is as T.S. Eliot suggested: "The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Truxton's American Bistro, located in Santa Monica and L.A., is an excellent example of the sort of New American food that is gaining in popularity. After years of eating sushi, quinoa, Korean barbeque, and tapas, Americans are finally ready to just enjoy themselves with a little something that reminds them of the home of their youth, suggests co-owner John Kaufman of Truxton's. "Considering all the changes happening in the world today, people aren't always so interested in trying something new or unfamiliar." That's why Truxton's has carved out a strong place for itself with food Americans know and love. "We offer the ultimate comfort food, and a familiarity that guests want," says Kaufman. "They want food that resonates for them, like mac n' cheese, burgers and rotisserie chicken," says Kaufman. "These dishes are the mainstays today and have enduring popularity."

But Truxton's is not just another good ol' American diner. The food is comfortable and recognizable, but it also tastes good enough to satisfy a discerning palate. "To be satisfying," claims Kaufman, "food has to have the right flavor and spice blend to create a crave factor when customers eat." Truxton's has worked hard to figure out the perfect combinations to make customers delight in their food. "There's a science in trying to figure out that balance," says Kaufman, "but ultimately we want guests to think about our food long after they leave our restaurant."

And that should be easy with the scrumptious options available at Truxton's. Kaufman notes a variety of customer favorites. There's the Miso Salmon, which is marinated and topped with a pickled cucumber salad. Or for someone looking for a more substantial meal, Kaufman suggests, there's the Barbacoa, served in hand-rolled taquitos or the Beef Barbacoa Skillet. Last but not least, of course, there's a new take on the classic hamburger. "Our new Breakfast Burger with sage sausage is a surefire favorite," exclaims Kaufman.

Truxton's cares about making sure customers love their food and the atmosphere of Truxton's. It is not enough that customers have a satisfying experience, suggests Kaufman. "We want them to dream about our food, to crave it nighttime, daytime, and week after week."

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