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PDX: Trifecta Tavern

Trifecta Tavern @ Portland, OR

The first thing that comes to mind of a tavern is a drinking hole. So, it is weird that this tavern resembles more a fancy upscale gastropub than one that is somber and filled with depressed people. Time changes all things, including the very definition of words. I assume if beer continues to pour, one could call themselves a tavern. One thing that Trifecta got it right is the space – very roomy and comfortable. This restaurant is so big, it has a darn bakery, which I assumed serves breakfast and lunch when the crowd isn’t down to chill and wipe away their sorrow. And when I say bakery, it isn’t like a Dunkin Donut drive through in a strip mall; Trifecta has a huge bread making operations. I would have love to try their brioche bun, which might have been awesome (Talk about this in a minute). However, I doubt I’ll try it because the truth is that Trifecta Tavern will be closed by the end of 2019. I guess, go out on the decade on a bang? Why are you reading and what am I writing about this restaurant that neither of us will have the chance to visit again? Then again, why do anything?

The dining hall.
The bar.

I ended up at Trifecta for the burger. I was craving for a good burger and heard that Trifecta is closing for good. Unfortunately, they ran out of buns by the time I arrived. The compromise is a burger in lettuce wrap, the way gluten free people eat it. Instead of getting my usual drink order, the many listed a non-alcoholic beer. I’m wary of drinking NA beers in the U.S. because I never had one that’s half decent, but I’ve had good NA beers in Germany. The Germans have mastered the art of making NA beers and promoting them as recovery sports drink (there are some truth to it). This, my bartender assured me, is a Pils from the Deutschland. Einbecker is indeed very refreshing, and I would highly recommend drinking them, if you can find them. To round up my dinner, I placed an order of the Burrata, think of it like a mushroom sandwich. The dish is dominated by the very rich and salty maitake mushroom, over some strong meaty sauce, probably au jus from roasting the mushroom. Being a part time bakery, the grilled bread, a.k.a, toast, is crunchy on the outside and soft inside, serving as a sponge and plate for the mushroom. It was amazing and make up for the lack of brioche bun.

Burrata – wood oven maitake mushrooms, grilled bread. $15
Einbecker Brauherren Non-Alcoholic
Pimento Double-Cheeseburger – House brioche bun, two patties, aioli, fries $18

The famous burger took some time but arrives as the crowd dies down a little. I came in just about when everyone was about to leave. The fries are of the thin straw version, and I have seen a few places in Portland that serves them this way (it might be a PNW thing?). Oregon might be close to Idaho, but potatoes here are just potatoes anywhere. Unexpectedly, the fries tasted smoky, which makes them unique and tasty. The patty of the Pimento Double-Cheeseburger is damn delicious, as expected from a famous restaurant. It is both very succulent and substantial. I had some Pimento cheese when I was in the Carolinas and thought that the sauce is too strong. Here, without the bun, the pimento cheese dominates the flavor profile, and I preferred it without. As for going low carb with the lettuce wrap, it is an interesting concept but not my style. By using lettuce, the dish feels more like a steak salad than an evil burger. I guess I did save a few hundred calories, but it just wasn’t worth sacrificing the bun. Also, I had Voodoo donut afterwards, so the calories were spent.

Big mirror.

I wonder why Trifecta Tavern is closing. This seems like a good restaurant, and the crowd is busy even on a Sunday night. The service staff is friendly, and I enjoy the atmosphere. The food, at least for the burger and the Burrata, is delicious. It is definitely the best burger I have had in Portland so far, though I have not lived here too long. I’m not sad, because the restaurant scene in Portland is big and ever changing, but I can see the sadness of people who have been coming here over the years. In the meantime, I’m glad I get to taste this famous burger!

Date: Dec 8, 2019 at 1900 for dinner.
Address: 726 SE 6th Ave

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