Growing up on the East Coast, I never tried the thin hamburger patties so common on the West Coast at places like In-N-Out Burger until I was in my early 20s. But once I got that first taste, I was hooked. So when Trina’s Starlite Lounge opened a few years ago in Somerville with West Coast-style burgers on the menu, I was excited.
I’ve been to Trina’s many times since that first visit and I’ve always been impressed by the quality of the food and drinks as well as the friendly service and prices. An energetic atmosphere, even on weekdays when so many restaurans are dead, makes this a terrific all-around restaurant. Another bonus? There’s rarely a wait for a table. And if there is, Trina’s mixes up some killer cocktails, so waiting at the bar is actually a treat.
The menu at Trina’s changes often, usually to reflect the season, and this keeps things interesting for neighborhood folks who frequent the restaurant. I’ve had a winter salad there with a Brussels sprouts base that blew my mind. And recently, I had a summer salad of tangy arugula and spinach paired with toasted seeds and goat cheese that was refreshing and light on a warm summer evening.
As mentioned above, the burgers are a delight. I usually just go for the single with cheese, but if you’re a fan of the In-N-Out “animal style,” try the Starlite-style. It’s a real mouthful, so be prepared to get messy, but it’s so worth it. (Trina’s also has veggie burgers for non-meat-eaters.)
In addition to burgers, Trina’s has a wide selection of hot dogs, including a different special every day often made with some unexpected, though tasty ingredients (like the taco dog, right). Hot sandwich options change frequently and as far as I know, Trina’s always includes a veggie option. To go with all these mains, Trina’s offers a ton of sides, like sweet potato hash, sautéed spinach and of course, french fries and onion rings.
The regular dinner menu also rotates, but you can usually count on the mac and cheese and fried chicken with buttermilk waffles. Steak frites, a fish dish and an often-changing pasta plate round out the selection.
To wash all this down, Trina’s provides a great selection of beers (both low and high, like a bucket of Miller High Life ponies or Pretty Things) and wines (I recently had a crisp, perfect-for-summer rose). But the real stars of the drink show are the cocktails. The Shaddock (Bols Genever, Aperol, St. Germain and lemon juice) is divine as is the Gentlemen (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, canton, lemon). Creative is the name of the game with beverages at Trina’s and if you order a cocktail, you’re almost assured to be trying a drink unlike any other you’ve had.
To top all of this off, Trina’s offers meals at great prices ($4 for a single burger, $3 for a hot dog and mains from about $9-$17), so a tasty meal with a memorable cocktail won’t break the bank.
All photos courtesy of Trina’s Starlite Lounge page.