What makes a restaurant great? For some it’s the scene, for others it’s culinary preciousness, and for a dedicated few it’s straight celebrity chef-stalking. But sometimes a perfect-storm kind of joint sneaks up out of nowhere, yielding an evening that you can’t help but brag about. Enter Oasis Russian Fusion. Think I’m exaggerating? Exhibit A: the out-of-this-world family style kebab array. At $60, it sounds steep, but the platter easily feeds four with enough to take home. The cubed beef, marinated in a secret recipe, melts in your mouth, the curry-laced chicken is fork tender, and the kibbeh stays bizarrely moist. And you thought Russian food was all pureed beets. Which is why I’d be remiss not to mention that Oasis’s borscht (exhibit B) is actually a bold, umami-rich beef stock chock-full of heirloom beet wedges, potatoes, tender beef, and cabbage—complex, to say the least. The cabbage rolls (exhibit C) could convert even the pickiest eater: Filled with rice and plenty of ground beef, smothered in a piquant tomato sauce, they’re comfort food prepared with passion and precision. Dine in on the weekend and enjoy their house DJ, Irlan, who keeps it real after 8 p.m. with plenty of Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder under the glow of a token disco ball. Isn’t it time that great food served family-style became a scene of its own?
Oasis Russian Fusion, 8697 Fields Ertel Rd., Mason, (513) 247-9755, oasisrussianfusion.com