Trifecta has a nearly perfect room. The red-walled, train-car space is half midcentury diner and half high-raftered cool-kid tavern, seemingly designed with everyone in mind. It is equally welcoming to single drunks at the bar, to intimate dates in the plush booths and to loudmouths with kids at the party tables in the middle. Food is humble in spirit—hell, there's a Maine fisherman's breakfast of oysters, ham and honeyed bun for $10.

The menu's big tickets are a $50, 1-pound "big ass steak" and a beautifully herbal, tender wood-grilled chicken served with grits ($26) that's among the best birds in the city. Ken Forkish's bread isn't showy; it's a selection of whole-grain or airy-structured classics. And appetizers include a remarkable take on the usually dull wedge salad, livened with the pungency of creamy Stilton cheese, brightly pickled onions and a shotgun blast of bacon. The dishes startle not with novelty but with sterling execution, and are delivered to your table with the effort-free cool that comes only with genuine competence.

Pro tip: You can treat Trifecta as an early-evening bar and be equally satisfied—whether with a beautiful Spanish-gin gibson with olives from the old country ($11), or a bonded Manhattan with barrel-aged bitters ($11).

GO: 726 SE 6th Ave., 841-6675, 5-9 pm Monday, 5-10 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 4-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 4-9 pm Sunday. $-$$.

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