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I’m going back to the U.S.S.R.
Oasis Mediterranean Grill
8697 Fields Ertel Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45249
When’s the last time you had some good Russian food? Yeah, me neither. Previously I would have not gone out of my way to dine at a Russian restaurant. Only because I don’t even know what Russian food is. I would have pictured stroganoff, and… well, stroganoff (maybe perogies, that‘s Polish I know but close I guess). So what the hell is Russian food! Turns out, Russian food is awesome.
One of the latest additions to the Field Ertel dining scene is Oasis. Located in the plaza by the I-71 ramp Oasis is easy to miss. It’s also easy to misunderstand. The sign says “Mediterranean” but I think that’s a stretch. Maybe the Oasis owners felt not as many people would come if it said “Russian”. After all who even knows what that is. They do serve kebabs, that fits. So maybe they have more in common with Turkish food, but I feel it’s still a stretch.
If Americans were familiar with Russian dishes, they would pack this place. “Just what is this Russian food you speak of?” How about scratch-made Lagman Kavurma? It’s a fine fresh spaghetti like noodle dish. Absolutely awesome “thicker than spaghetti” noodles boast a beautiful texture. The red & green peppers, onion, celery and whole garlic blast you with a smoky red pepper-paprika flavor. I could have loved this dish even without the lamb & beef pieces. In fact next time, my non-meat dining partner is ordering this dish, minus the meat. “It’s the best pasta I’ve ever had” she said after tasting mine. “Best pasta” is a bold statement considering where all we have eaten but this dish featured such delicious made on site noodles I would have to agree. The rich-roasted-smoky flavors were powerful and addicting. I will be craving these noodles I can tell you now.
While my noodle dish was a super-star hit (and at just $6.50!) My co-reviewer wasn’t left without her own delicious dish. Her “Fish Moscow” order didn‘t offer much of an explanation. She sat nervously wondering if she would like it all. It was $14.50 (the most expensive dish on the menu) and she was very hungry. A disliked dish would have been a big mistake. Even after it arrived she was still unsure… until the very first bite, she loved it. Fish Moscow features a slab of Sea Bass, smothered covered and baked in a sea of sour cream based (stroganoff-ish) sauce along with mushrooms, tomato and potato chunks. Then it’s topped with white cheese and dusted with sprigs of fresh dill. It’s silky smooth & creamy. Mild flavored white fish and obviously fresh veggies stand out in the sauce, this would be a dream dinner on a cold winter night. It was damn good eating on a sunny summer patio too.
Aside from our perfect 10 entrees, we ordered two appetizers; a crispy fried spinach & cheese filled pastry called “Kutab” ($2.50) and a massive dinner plate sized fresh baked bread roll ($2). The airy fresh baked bread and Kutab were so filling we wondered if we would need a to-go box for the entrees. Indeed we did not, it was too good to not eat every bite. But we did need one for the divine dessert pastry special. The filo dough dessert dish was layered with a cheesecake-like filling and topped with chopped almonds and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Not super sweet but definitely a sweet treat. A fine finish for certain.
I think our barely English speaking server was surprised we killed it all and ordered dessert. But not near as surprised as we were as to how good this Russian cuisine turned out to be. Not to mention the price, two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts and two drinks came in at $37. A deal by our standards any day.
Considering the over the top quality and uniqueness, a flat out steal.
There is much to try at Oasis, including lamb, beef, chicken and fish kebabs, rice dishes, whole roasted chicken, dumplings, ravioli and of course… stroganoff. All scratch made. On our visit we were the only non-Russian people there I believe, and that says a lot. The flavors scream volumes.
I can honestly say, I am now, and always shall be, a Russian food fan. Perhaps even a fanatic.