As the name implies, Erik Van Kley's small-plates restaurant sits just off the train tracks that run through Portland's inner eastside.

An alum of Le Pigeon and Little Bird, Van Kley has a proudly internationalist ethos underlying his New American cuisine. You'll first see it reflected in its not quite sparsely industrial décor, which doesn't quite commit to steampunk, fancy wine bar or Chipotle-wave aesthetics.

Van Kley's cuisine reflects a similar hedge: a little bit of a lot of influences play together, nicely, in dishes, such as a grilled octopus wide-noodle pasta ($16) that meld fat- (Parmesan, uni butter) and umami-rich (octopus, chili) traditions in Italian and East Asian food to a balanced finish, less nicely in a take on chicken and waffles ($16) that doesn't quite succeed in blending soul food with a spice profile borrowed from the Indian subcontinent.

The star of the show is the Singaporean fried snow crab ($33), served with a startlingly deep sweet chili sauce and bread rolls that sop up all the goodness in just the right way. But don't skip the raw starters: A yellowtail sashimi ($14) was expertly dialed with gently sweet ponzu and pluot, and our table fought over an albacore dish ($16) pushed into silken luxury with confit chicken, fried chicken skin and coconut milk.

(Hilary Sander)
(Hilary Sander)

Eat: For two people, start with the yellowtail ($14) and graduate to the octopus pasta ($16) and Singaporean crab ($33). If you're hankering for some veggies, the green beans with peppercorn dressing ($11) are an upscale, ranchy delight.

Drink: Taylor Railworks' secret weapon is its cocktails. The Floridian (rum, lime, dry cacao, grenadine; $10) makes strange, beautiful bedfellows of lime and chocolate, deftly pulling off a tricky balancing act between acid and earthy cocoa.

Most popular dish: The Noodles Alla Johnny ($16), with crab, tomato and prawn, blend Italian technique with a piquant Vietnamese flavor profile.

Noise level: 50/100, except when a big, friendly train rolls by and blasts its horn at a volume loud enough to cross the barrier from "deafening" to "endearingly deafening."

Expected wait: Taylor Railworks sits in a large space and still falls in that sweet spot between underrated hangout and big-name restaurant, which means it's never quite slammed. You shouldn't break a 20-minute wait.

Who you'll eat with: Hip, toned couples on single or double dates and larger groups of young professionals getting a big dinner in before hitting the inner eastside bar district.

Year opened: 2015

(Hilary Sander)
(Hilary Sander)

117 SE Taylor St., No. 101, 503-208-2573, 5-10 pm nightly. $$$-$$$$.