CUhl Food Review • Trinket
Updated: Mar 15
What is Trinket?
Trinket is a quaint little brunch restaurant in SE Portland. It's website advertises the following description:
"Chef-Owner of Trinket, Gina Helvie, curates the homey casual vibe as well as the distinct yet classic menu for south east Portland’s brunch destination. Trinket, named after Helvie’s mother Trinka, opened in 2013. The menu is made up of all Helvie’s favorites & family recipes. The small staff of this Richmond neighborhood gem dishes up daily specials and staple items; like the Duck Eggs Benedict. The passion needed to survive in the fast paced food scene comes from a love for the basics: genuine service, neighborhood customers, and proper eggs."
Where is it?
Portland, OR • 2035 SE Cesar Estrada Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 Richmond Neighborhood in between Hawthorne and Division on Cesar Chavez
What is it like?
It has a vintage feel to it. It often has a line because it has limited seating, and of course because it is also quite worth the wait. It has a small bar, but it doesn't have seating, rather it's just a service bar. There are random little "trinkets" scattered around the interior complimented by an antler chandelier and oil paintings of mountainscapes. This time there was an intricate chalk drawing that added a nice touch of color to the wall.
When is it open?
Weekdays - 8am-2:30pm
Weekends - 8:30am-3:30pm
Serving Breakfast & Lunch
CUhl Rating (out of 5 stars)
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Quality of Service:
Right as you walk in, there is an area where you can sign yourself onto the waiting list so you don't have to wait for the host to get to you. It also directs you to the bar if you'd like coffee or a cocktail while you wait for a table.
The servers are friendly and work as a team. I never have to wait for coffee, and each table gets a bottle of water so you don't have to wait or get up to get water if you need it. It's a friendly atmosphere.
Quality of Food:
I would say the quality of the food is the highlight of this restaurant it is full of flavor, well constructed, properly proportioned, and always fresh. You can see and taste that they put a lot of thought into constructing the menu. From the cocktails through the entrées down to the homemade Fyrstekake (traditional Nordic cake) you can taste the intricacies layered in through flavor.
I've decided to highlight a few of the items I got to try at Trinket.
• The Free Radicals cocktail, but I might even wedge it into the margarita category
Description: habanero tequila, hazelnut liqueur, blood orange & tangerine juice, lime and a salted rim.
At first taste it’s subtly sweet then you get a hazelnut undertone followed by a delightful citrus tang concluded by a spicy backbite ... the salted rim adds a savory punch in the middle. The habanero holds strong and lingers, it fills your palate for awhile after sipping on it. Fully worth the price.
• Polenta Cake Special
Description: Griddled fennel polenta cake, bacon, two poached eggs & hollandaise
The bacon was quality and cooked perfectly the hollandaise was tangy but soft. The polenta cake was perfectly constructed, full of flavor and seasoned to perfection with a Southwest fresh peppery flavor to it. The poached eggs were a fabulous compliment and were cooked perfectly to supplement as saucy goodness to top off the dish. It was a unique blend of flavors, but they harmonized wonderfully.
• The Cure - uniquely composed Bloody Mary
Description: vodka, house Bloody Mary mix & beet-carrot-ginger juice.
This is an incredibly clever cocktail constructed to play to a unique palate of sweet, earthy, and spicy all at the same time. It's garnished with the savory components of a traditional bloody that rounds out the healthy vibes that really truly can be a cure to a hangover.
When I tried this a while ago I was visiting Trinket with my housemate after a long night out and we were there to bite the hair of the dog. I had this and their Huevos Al Pastor which was also incredible. I kid you not, I felt amazing after that. It may have something to do with the name, but it really did feel like a cure and the vitamins from the fresh juice and ginger refreshed my system in a very noticeable way.
All in all, Trinket is hands down the kind of place I can't help but keep going back to and happily wait in a long line to get a table. The price point is reasonable and is absolutely on point to the value of the food and experience you get when eating there. It is an example of a perfect brunch if you ask me.