Review: Ozmo Asian Bistro

A sushi spot in Ozark serves up maki rolls that are full of fun flavor twists.

One of the most exciting parts of my job is trying restaurants all over 417-land. When we heard about Ozmo Asian Bistro in Ozark, I hoped it would have delicious sushi, but I wondered if it would have interesting sushi (as opposed to a list of rolls that all look like something I’ve tasted before). I had seen the dinner menu before I visited Ozmo with my fiancé, Eli Estes. It was a mixture of Japanese restaurant staples (bento boxes, for example) and a few unexpected items, like Korean bulgogi. But I didn’t see the sushi menu until I arrived. So, was it interesting?

Heck yes.

We ordered three sushi rolls, trying to have a variety of flavors in our meal while also tasting some sushi combinations that we hadn’t had before. We went with the Bloody Mary roll, the Fried Fish roll and a veggie roll.

The Bloody Mary was our favorite. It has spicy tuna and shrimp tempura on the inside and salmon on top, and it is drizzled with spicy mayonnaise and a red sauce made with Korean spices. That red sauce tastes a lot like a condiment called gochujang, which Korean food fans will recognize. I’d never tasted those Korean flavors on a sushi roll, and I absolutely loved it. It pairs perfectly with the spicy tuna and the cool salmon. And the shrimp tempura adds a nice crunch. (Sidenote: A dish very much like Japanese sushi called “gimbap” is a common Korean food, so maybe gochujang-on-sushi flavors aren’t as surprising as I think they are.)

The Fried Fish roll was delicious, too. Inside are tuna, snapper and yellowtail that have been quickly seared. The roll is also filled with asparagus, avocado and gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. On top are spicy mayonnaise and a delicious-but-not-too-hot creamy wasabi sauce. For something with “fried” in the name, it doesn’t taste very fried—not in the traditional greasy way. It was a very satisfying combo of flavors without being heavy. I would order it again.

We really enjoyed the vegetable roll as well. It has a fun mixture of vegetables that all lend a pop of flavor and a crisp crunchiness to each bite. Inside the roll are marinated Japanese pumpkin (also called kabocha), gobo, carrots, asparagus, cucumber and avocado. Unlike some other bland vegetable rolls we’ve had, this roll was delicious thanks to the exotic veggies.

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The general look of Ozmo is cute and modern. Although the tables and chairs are fairly basic, the dining room has all white-elements that really stand out: lantern-like globes, a round chandelier and floor-to-ceiling banners that add a softer texture. The black and steel bar has wavy wooden details and faces a bright red wall. There’s even a loungy area—with silver upholstered benches, fluffy black pillows and black walls with white writing on them.

The only part of the Ozmo experience that we weren’t very fond of was the tempura calamari appetizer. The calamari was a bit overcooked, and the tempura batter was very bland. I liked the soy-based dipping sauce, but it didn’t make up for the calamari’s lack of flavor. Still, the sushi was good. So good that I’ll be back.

Ozmo Asian Bistro

1711 S. 15th St., Ozark, 417-485-6966
Open  Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.– 2 p.m.,  4:30–9 p.m.; Sat. noon–2:30 p.m., 4:30–9 p.m.
$-$$

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