By Cat Wurdack
726 SE 6th Ave.
Daily 4 pm – 10 pm
Ken Forkish is a bread man. He has been baking, studying baking and learning and collaborating with other bakers since he stepped out of a twenty-year Silicon Valley career. He’s since dedicated himself to re-creating the style and quality of the best breads he enjoyed in France.
After publishing an award-winning cookbook Flour Water Yeast Salt and creating two favored Portland bread-based eateries (Ken’s Artisan Bakery on NW 23rd St. and Ken’s Artisan Pizza on SE 28th St), Forkish recently opened Trifecta, a 5,000-square-foot multi-use space on SE 6th St. integrating a cozy 90-seat restaurant and friendly bar with an onsite bakery.
Forkish set out to create a classic big city tavern, he explains, like the ones in NYC, SF, and DC with full bar, a club atmosphere, and a great kitchen — and Trifecta is all that and more.
It’s not apparent walking in, but the dining room curves around to the left where it’s separate from the main dining room and bar, quiet and intimate.
If you’re sitting at the bar, you are in good hands with Eric Wilson, possibly one of the most cordial and naturally gifted individuals in the business. Wilson always manages to please with spot-on meal and beverage recommendations.
Trifecta’s red leather booths and brick-red walls, oak wood floors, and industrial high ceilings are chic and inviting without the “I’m too cool for you” attitude that Forkish says he has made efforts to avoid. It’s clear in the print on the bar napkin, he points out, the words that he feels embody the spirit of the place: “Eat. Drink. Be Nice.”
There’s a ribeye steak served with marrow. You can have a glass of dolcetto and a modest meal of shared sides: smoked farro with fried cauliflower and pickled cherries, oysters and ham with hot rolls, honey and butter, grilled broccoli raab, and Ken’s salad with lettuce, pickled asparagus and crispy salami. Vegetarian choices are as artfully presented and imaginatively conceived as any of the meat items.
Bread is complimentary and is served with olive oil. The bakery is open daily at 4 pm to retail customers.