American Local is a mashup of down-home 'Merican vittles and Japanese izakaya fare—both things Portland adores, as you'll see throughout this guide. The menu at this 2-year-old small-plates spot begins with skewers of various shapes and sizes, including simple fried chicken skin ($3) that can be excused for its saltiness given the kitsch factor, grilled octopus ($8) and knockout flank steak ($11). Oysters are available, though they've got nothing on the a tiny tower of raw albacore ($12) that looks like a deconstructionist sushi roll layered with avocado and a hot, crisp rice cake. Even the less-successful dishes—a serrano-laden fruit salad ($7) and a Sriracha- and maple-glazed pork belly skewer ($8) with enough salt to kill a deer—offer up innovative flavor combinations designed to pair with $1 per ounce house sake or a killer salted caramel old fashioned ($10). If you want more traditional bar food, the kitchen makes a solid burger loosely modeled on In-N-Out's Double-Double and a stellar macaroni-meets-jalapeño-popper bar snack coated in panko.
Pro tip Resist the calls of the other dessert destinations on Division and get the bacon beignet. It's better. And cheaper.
3003 SE Division St., 954-2687, theamericanlocal.com. 5:30-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-9 pm Sunday. $$-$$$