POSTED ON JULY 1, 2009:
Broken Arrow restaurant offers a savory spin on classic Mexican fare
South of the Border. With a flair for Central and South American cuisine, Mr. Mambo offers a colorful variety of fare, all homemade fresh daily in their kitchen.
Just when you thought you had experienced all that Mexican restaurants around the city have to offer, Mr. Mambo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina has opened its doors with a twist on favorite dishes. With a flair for Central and South American cuisine, Mr. Mambo offers a colorful variety of fare, all homemade fresh daily in their kitchen. Using authentic Mexican recipes, diners can sample some familiar items, such as nachos and tacos along with less conventional dishes from the El Vegetarian Menu or an entrée called Milanesa Rumbera.
A friend of mine, always up for a nice Mexican meal, accompanied me on the journey to Broken Arrow. For this Tulsan, Mr. Mambo is located in the old Pepper's Restaurant on the northwest corner of 101st and 161st East Ave. The décor is bright and cheerful with a fiesta feel.
Surprisingly busy for a Monday evening, my friend and I experienced a fairly lengthy wait at the hostess stand. Once seated, it took another four to five minutes before a server greeted us. He took our beverage orders; my friend selected a House Margarita ($3.99) while I chose the Laguna Azul ($5.79). My margarita was the more flavorful of the two, with 1800 Silver tequila, Blue Curacao, orange juice and lime. Yum! We were also served fresh chips with homemade salsa, chunky with fresh tomatoes and mild in flavor. Upon request, a very hot salsa with roasted pepper chipotle can be served. This salsa was a great mix with the milder version.
We opened our menus to review the dinner selections. (My friend's menu had a quarter-size mound of white queso left from a previous diner.) The Los Appetizers are a lively variety of Nachos Maracas, Las Flautas, Cinco Empanadas, Jalapenos Locos, Queso Dip and Guacamole Dip.
We began with the Jalapenos Locos ($4.99), six deep-fried jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheese. The fried peppers were presented on two skewers, three peppers on each, resting on a bed of fresh pico de gallo. These jalapenos were red, indicating that the peppers had fully ripened. This dish was typical, except for the red hue. The crust was light; inside, the cheese was fully melted, creamy and not unbearably spicy.
Selecting our dinner was not easy with so many different options. We skimmed the Sopas and Salads (Tortilla Soup, El Taco Salad, Cancun Ensalada, House Salad) and a few dressings sounded interesting, such as the Jalapeno Ranch, Chipotle Honey Mustard and Jalapeno Vinaigrette. Las Fajitas were promising, especially the Fajitas De La Playa (Tilapia, Mahi-Mahi, scallops and shrimp). We ended our search as I selected the Milanesa Rumbera ($9.99) and my friend the Filet a la Diabla ($9.79) from the Los Favoritos section.
The Milanesa Rumbera is described as a South American favorite. A filet of steak, which is hand-dipped in seasoned egg batter and bread crumbs, then fried. The steak was thinly cut, yet it was a substantial slice of beef. The breading was light and tightly hugged the steak. I was not able to detect the actual seasonings in the batter, but it had a mild flavor with harmonious spices. Rice and guacamole were served on the side. I particularly enjoy this type of rice: thicker granules, moist (possibly tossed in oil) with corn, peas and tiny cubed carrots adding color, dimension and flavor. The guacamole atop leaves of iceberg lettuce was creamy, rich and very fresh.
My friend's dish was grilled tilapia with a hint of Mr. Mambo's special diabla chipotle sauce. The server recommended the sauce served on the side rather than on top of the fish to allow the diner to regulate how much sauce to use. For my friend who has rarely met a sauce too hot to handle, this was not an issue for him. The fish was fresh and the sauce, he said, had a taste of roasted chilies, similar to a roasted tomato and BBQ sauce. He even added a little more heat with the table sauces El Yucateco Red Chile and Green Chile Habanero. This dish was also served with rice and guacamole.
Mr. Mambo's menu also features El Vegetarian selections, such as a Spinach quesadilla, bean burritos and bean tostada. Items on the Los Clasicos section (all under $9) are just that--familiar Mexican classics. This menu mainly consists of enchiladas and burritos, such as Enchiladas Suizas, Stacked Enchiladas, Enchiladas del Mar, Enchiladas de Carnitas; El Burrito and El Big Mamburrito. Twelve lunch specials at $3.99 include hearty combo meals, as well as a number of additional selections at varying prices--all under $8. Lunch is served daily from 11am-4pm.
The Little Mambo Menu for children under 12 includes favorites such as Chicken Nuggets, Corndogs, Cheeseburgers, (all accompanied by fries), and a Kid's Mexican Dinner.
Despite the initial slow service, our time at Mr. Mambo was enjoyable and each dish was well-prepared and tasty.
Mr. Mambo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
3326 S. Elm Pl.
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