HOT BITES

The falafel at El Basha is one of the best in the city.


Hot Bites are compiled by food critic Sarah Baker Hansen from the past two months of dining reviews.

UPSTREAM BREWING COMPANY

514 S. 11th St. and 17070 Wright Plaza. Downtown: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday. West: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday.$$

Menu: Beer and food that pairs with it, including appetizers, sandwiches and entrees.

Our take: The food that goes with the lengthy list of house-made beers was the best of what the Upstream offers. Higher-priced entrees — many of which have been recently revamped — seemed worth sampling.

Try this: The list of creative, tasty seasonal beers is fun to drink through, and both the Upsession IPA and Bauman Belgian pale ale were favorites. From the menu, a burger arrived perfectly cooked and particularly satisfying.

SAIGON

12100 West Center Road. Open daily 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.$

Menu: Vietnamese specialties, including lots of soup.

Our take: Those new to comforting Vietnamese soups can start at chicken pho; the more adventurous should go straight for the Quang, listed on the specials menu.

Try this: Beef pho is the most classic — and one of the tastiest — selections on the menu.

LE VOLTAIRE

569 N. 155th Plaza. 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Lunch Thursdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.$$$-$$$$

Menu: French classics.

Our take: You won't find innovative cuisine at Le Voltaire, but you will find traditional French food almost always cooked to a T. The wine list is worth exploration.

Try this: French classics like steak frites, creme brulee and a rustic veal sausage with a mushroom demi-glace were executed to perfection.

LO-LO' S CHICKEN & WAFFLES

7051 Ames Ave. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.$$

Menu: Chicken and waffles along with seafood selections and soul food sides.

Our take: While the chicken and waffles were decent, the rest of Lo-Lo's menu, especially the fish, needs work.

Try this: The fried chicken and cinnamony waffles that are the restaurant's namesake are also its best dish.

KOREA KING

4719 S. 96th St. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday. $

Menu: Korean classics.

Our take: The menu includes the Korean basics, like kimchi, bulgogi and bibimbap, but lots of other more adventurous choices for diners not yet familiar with Korean cuisine.

Try this: Jab-chae, a dish of room-temperature cellophane noodles served in a soy-based sauce, and duk-mandoo kuk, a brothy soup that includes dumplings and Korean rice cakes, are good jumping off points for diners unfamiliar with Korean food. A kimchi pancake proved an excellent, spicy starter.

ENZO' S ITALIAN IN FLORENCE

8510 N. 30th St. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.$$

Menu: Old-school Italian steakhouse done in a modern and intimate way.

Our take: Omaha loves an old-school steakhouse, and chef Enzo Zurlo is creating classics that the neighborhood crowd already loves.

Try this: A shrimp scampi was citrusy but still buttery with large, tender shrimp; a Bolognese pasta had a wonderfully rich and chunky sauce.

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