The Sinful Kitchen lives up to its name, but it also offers some redemption in case you’re worried about your diet going straight to hell.
This new little brunch restaurant on Brighton Avenue is located where the Latin restaurant La Familia used to be, but it’s been given a nice little facelift by chef/owner Dave Mallari. Mallari is the former owner of Francisco’s Blue House Cafe, which closed in 2008, and he still has a pig roast catering business called The Pig Kahuna.
The walls of the restaurant are a soothing bright yellow, and the lights have Mason jar covers. Brown butcher paper covers the white linen tablecloths on seven tables. (Mallari also hosts private dinners, presumably the reason for the fancy tablecloths.)
The Sinful Kitchen menu is filled with the usual decadent brunch options, including a line-up of “The Bennies” – four variations on Eggs Benedict, each served with a side of home fries. In addition to the traditional version, there’s an avocado, crabmeat and bacon eggs bennie and a florentine version that comes with baby spinach and sliced tomato. I tried the pulled pork version, since Mallari is known for his pork, and it came with fresh salsa and a jalapeno Hollandaise. The eggs were perfectly runny, and the pork was nice and tender. I ate so much of it – it was a huge plate – I couldn’t finish the home fries, which were seasoned well and browned just right. That dish was just $10.
Other tempting choices include Huevos Rancheros, a Monte Cristo sandwich, and Stuffed French Toast that sounds like something the devil made up: three slices of French toast filled with a white chocolate chip, pineapple and toasted coconut filling. There is a choice of meat and home fries on the side, to boot.
If you’re not in the mood for something eggy, you can also build your own burger here with Niman Ranch grass-fed beef, or order a salad or waffles. (Do you have the will power to resist cinnamon roll waffles with cream cheese icing?)
I wanted to try one of just about everything, including some of the specialized items for people watching their diets for one reason or another. Many of the items on the menu can be made gluten-free for just 50 cents to $1 dollar extra, and there are also dishes here for vegetarians, vegans (vegan tofu scramble) and even people following the Paleo diet. I asked my server what was in the Paleo Pumpkin Fritters, and she told me they are made with eggs and coconut flour. (The fritters come, of course, with your choice of meat and a fresh fruit cup.)
The menu notes that the kitchen uses separate cooking equipment for gluten-free dishes, but warns that cross-contamination can still occur. You can bet that Mallari and his staff do their best, however, because Mallari himself has celiac disease. He’s also an avid CrossFitter, so he knows what he’s doing when making Paleo-friendly dishes.
Even the side orders are interesting, signaling that this is not your usual brunch place. You can get a side of that delicious pulled pork, or maybe some lamb bacon or Spam. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the presumably hot-as-Hades ghost pepper sausage. (That also comes on the El Diablo Plate with a jalapeno-and-pepper jack omelet.)
This place apparently gets busy on the weekends, so you might want to try going on a weekday morning, like I did. There were just one or two other tables filled, and I had my pick of seats. Weekdays will likely get busier, as people discover this place.
So go ahead and splurge. We absolve you. Eat something sinful at The Sinful Kitchen- or at least something that tastes that way, even if it’s gluten-free or good for you.
WHERE: 906 Brighton Ave., Portland | 207-536-0611 | thesinfulkitchen.com
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
WAIT: 5-10 minutes
PARKING: Small adjacent lot.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No; about six steps at the main entrance.
OUTDOOR SEATING: No