Photo of the American Local courtesy Avila/EPDX
WWeek's Matthew Korfhage delights in the "high-low rave-up of regional flavors" at the 10-week-old American Local, finding many accessible offerings on its eclectic menu. The difficult-to-categorize restaurant on SE Division is defined as "ingredient-forward fusion," combining familiar Asian flavors with "American diner obsessions": Think a "wildly successful" watermelon radish and nuoc cham salad, miso-drizzled Brussels sprouts (liked to Smallwares' signature deep-fried kale), and a pimento grill toast that was "bracing and a bit nostalgic, kind of like Splash Mountain." For pub grub traditionalists, the simple house cheeseburger is deemed "lovely."
Not everything works — skewers are "pleasant but hardly interesting," and the carb-loaded, foie gras-topped poutine is considered a dud — but Korfhage suggests ordering a few vegetable dishes, the rich fry bread, and the "ridiculously fun" sundae. Ultimately: "The American Local is neither American nor local — which is to say, it's as American as it gets." [WW]
After a few service hiccups and a few "failed" dishes, the Mercury's Andrea Damewood gives Concordia's Nonna a "qualified yes," weighing the pluses and minuses tepidly in the restaurant's favor. First, the pluses: Chef Jobie Bailey's "absurdly tasty" grilled focaccia, a plate of the "fattest mussels I've ever seen," and a linguini with nettle and pistachio pesto, described as "a welcome harbinger of spring." Manacotti and the whole-roasted trout, both served in cast-iron dishes, are deemed "the best offerings by far."
But scattered service — which saw two dishes go missing amidst an ongoing mystery of the disappearing waiter — marred the experience, as did a charred rapini dish that was more "hammered" than charred. The takeaway: "Though Nonna means 'grandma' in Italian, it really is more of a little sister to DOC — allowed to dress down and get playful — and, once it gets out of those gawky stages, it's the kind of kid who could shine." [Mercury]
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