Our Review of Mundos Latin Kitchen

Forget what you know about Mexican food. Mundos Latin Kitchen is serving up a vast array of deliciously creative Latin and Latin-inspired dishes sure to cure any Mexican-adjacent craving.

by Megan Dollar

Apr 2021

All dishes spread at Mundos Kitchen
Photo by Brandon AlmsForget what you know about Mexican food at Mundos Latin Kitchen in Ozark. Purchase Photo

I often wonder if anyone out there in the world keeps track of the number of Mexican restaurants per capita in American cities. If that was a thing, I think the Springfield metro area would be up toward the top. I’m not complaining; I love Mexican food. But it’s got to make for a pretty competitive market. How many ways can the Mexican restaurant in middle-America be differentiated? There’s no way to know, but Mundos Latin Kitchen and Bar (493 N. 17th St., Ozark, 417-485-2160) in Ozark has figured out at least one really good way to stand out. To be clear, Mundos isn’t a Mexican restaurant. But that’s what makes them such a good one. Confused? Mundos is a Latin restaurant, so it serves Mexican food, but it also serves dishes from 10 other Latin American countries. It’s an unparalleled concept with completely unique, and delicious, cuisine.

When I spoke to owner Victor Briceno before the restaurant’s opening back in the winter, he told me how excited his team was to feature plantains on the menu. So, when I went out for my first visit, I knew I would have to give the plantains a try. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea. I hate bananas, and I can’t help but compare it to fruits that are so similar in appearance. But I’m not one to turn my nose up from a food I have yet to try, either. So, after taking more than enough time to review the very long and exciting menu, I decided on a Venezuelan dish called Patacon. It’s a mound of black beans, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese and either chicken or pork over a flattened, deep-fried plantain and topped with a house special cilantro sauce. My mom, who I took with me, ordered one seafood taco and one pollo rojo taco, so I decided to go for pork in my dish, and I’m very glad that I did.

Before I dug into the main course, I indulged myself with a cocktail. I’m a tequila drinker to my core, so a Patron Silver-laden elixir was a must. I went for the Cantarito, which paired the tequila with Squirt (the soda), lime, pineapple and orange juices and came in a mason jar with a tajin-covered rim. I don’t love drinking before the sun goes down, so I intended only to take a few sips for tasting purposes, but I couldn’t help myself from finishing off this refreshing concoction.

The plantain, which I was equally nervous and excited to try, really took me by surprise and tasted much more like a sweet potato than a banana. It was crispy and starchy and not at all overpowering. It was a strong foundation for all the toppings it carried. The pork might as well have been the best I’ve ever had. It was tender and juicy and full of flavor. But I think the biggest highlight of the dish for me was the house-made cilantro sauce on top. It was tart yet creamy and full of all that good cilantro flavor. Yes, I like cilantro, and if you don’t, you should try harder.