A takeout window next to a Deer Park bowling alley may not be the first place (or the fiftieth…) that you would look to find crazy-authentic Venezuelan cuisine. But you should: Tiny walk-up bistro Arrechissimo has a full menu of housemade South American classics (and an obligatory mix of American favorites) on their carryout-only menu.
Fluffy ground-maize flatbread arepas come over-stuffed with cheese, ham, beef, chicken, or fresh reina pepiada (chicken and avocado salad). Low-fat enthusiasts will unfairly shun the hand-held empanada, which is deep-fried—but delicately so, and balanced by a shredded white-meat chicken filling. The red and sweet pepper hallaquita (similar to a tamale) gets a traditional corn husk wrapping and is a nice veggie-friendly break on a very meaty menu. And trust us on this one: Everything is better dipped in the cilantro sauce, which tastes like it was made seconds before it was handed through the window.
Finish your lunch off with the Venezuelan custard; it’s the only thing that appears to be pre-made, but its flan-like texture is refreshing and just sweet enough to feel worth the caloric intake. If it’s a nice day—or if you can’t wait until you get back to your desk—take your empanada to the large bench around the corner and try not to bite your own fingers.
Arrechissimo, 8100 Blue Ash Rd., Deer Park, (513) 793-3100, arrechissimo.com