Borscht: Oasis Mediterranean GrillA soup born from the harsh Balkan landscape should be hearty and life affirming, or at least warm. But borscht is often served cold and—even worse—many versions are thin and tepid. Oasis Mediterranean Grill does you the favor of serving their borscht piping hot. It’s a beautiful soup, with firm, rustic, bright red beets, bits of beef, and a side of smetana (sour cream). Do yourself a favor and visit on a weekend after 10 p.m.; a Russian DJ magically appears and spins the night away. 8697 Fields Ertel Rd., Symmes Twp., (513) 247-9755
Rouladen: Steinhaus: The Taste of GermanyIn some parts of the world, the rouladen is also known as a “beef olive.” When you see one, the alias makes sense. The idea behind rouladen is simple—a filling stuffed into thinly sliced beef. But this is one of those dishes best left to the experts. Enter Steinhaus, an authentic German restaurant that turns out a modest and lovely rouladen with a pair of humble (but perfect) sides: bright and crunchy braised red cabbage and creamy steamed parsley potatoes. 6415 Dixie Hwy., Florence, (859) 371-3000, steinhausrestaurant.com
Beef and cheddar piroshky: Puffins Bistro & DessertsThis purveyor of Hungarian delights creates piroshkis with marinated ground beef, crumbly cheddar (with the texture and color that nature intended), and handmade flaky pastry. The savory pocket sandwiches—filled with all manner of stewed meats, cheeses, veggies, and sauces—are hand-held comfort food at its finest. 11033 Reed Hartman Hwy., Blue Ash, (513) 600-6081, getyourpuff.com
Stoemp du Jour: Taste of BelgiumMost casual diners recognize frites or escargots, but stoemp isn’t yet a household name. Taste of Belgium serves up the pureed potato dish with a range of daily ingredients (our favorite blends in roughly chopped carrots and parsnips). And until it is socially acceptable to order just potatoes for dinner, you’ll have to settle for having your stoemp on the side. Poor you. 1135 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-4607, authenticwaffle.com
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