Oasis: Finally got to the Tuesday oxtail special. No surprises, no disappointments, just a tasty homestyle stew with potato chunks. You can get this as part of the small $4/lb buffet or as a generous set plate with rice, soupy black beans, and farofa for $7.50. Warning: the specials usually run out by the time the buffet closes down at 6. 373 Main St., Medford (at Harvard).
Anatolia: The big new sign and a grand opening banner got my hopes up. But while its run by a couple Turkish guys, the Anatolian touches seem to be the quotation from Rumi on the front of menu, and the names of the panini. For instance, the Anatolia has grilled chicken, caramelized onions, tomatoes, provolone, sun-dried tomato paste, and mesclun mix. It was a perfectly nice sandwich, but Turkish? If I spent much time in E. Cambridge Id probably check out their pizzas, subs, fancy sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Didnt strike me as a destination. 251 Cambridge St.
Avolas Cuccina: An eggplant sub was OK, but Victors Deli has nothing to fear. The handcut, skin-on fries that came with it, though, were a very good sign. Pizzas, calzones, sandwiches (including some more interesting ones) for lunch, North End Italian for dinner. 614 Main St., Medford. Closed Mondays.
Chung Ki Wa: A bowl of sengtae-jige had chunks of bone-in fish, tofu, spinach and other vegetables in a blisteringly hot (in both senses) brick-red broth. I actually thought I might not be able to finish it, but managed. $8 on the weekday-only lunch menu, with little sides of cabbage kimchi, sprouts, spinach, seaweed, and lightly glazed fishcake. Next time I feel a cold coming on its either this or the very similar but I think more interestingly flavored daegu maeun-tang from the regular menu. Although I like all their soupy things. 27-29 Riverside Ave., Medford Sq.
Sesame: The Chinese menu has settled down into Northern Chinese a la Wangs or Qingdao, with Sichuan touches (and a sizable vegetarian section). Not a bad thing, and we have plenty of Sichuan this side of the river, but I wish I knew where Yum Yums chef went. House special duck was marinated in special spices (mainly soy sauce, far as I could tell), and fried; perfectly acceptable, but there is more interesting duck around ($14 for lots of duck). Chilled mysterious flavor noodle ($5) was not, as I was hoping, the old chilled noodles with garlic sauce; instead the sauce, so far as I could make out, was soy with a little vinegar and some chopped peanuts and too much dried red chili. And that from a chili fan. It wasnt awful, just clumsy. 1295 Broadway, open 4-1pm M-F, noon-1pm Sat-Sun.