The World According to Norman

At Mundo, the food is bueno

In comparing Norman's and Mundo, I'd say there's one area where the new venture could use work. The service lacked polish, even though it was very friendly on all three of my visits (dinner, lunch, and take-out from the market). At dinner, for instance, two of us ordered eight items. Two were delivered simultaneously -- perfect. But before we even got to the point where we were ready to swap plates, a third item arrived. When a fourth immediately followed, I asked our waiter to please hold off on the rest till we finished what was on the table. Two more dishes appeared. I again asked for the parade of food to slow down. At that point dishes were literally overlapping each other to fit on the table. Within minutes the final two dishes crash-landed.

When I objected, our waiter merely shrugged helplessly and said the chef had insisted that the food was ready, so it had to be brought out regardless of diners' requests. True, the menu makes clear that Mundo's food is meant for sharing. Eight dishes at once is reasonable for six or eight diners, but at a table for two overloaded with food, soups cool and foams melt down.

So do tempers. That's the antithesis of the intended spirit at Mundo -- casual and convivial. (Bringing out food as it's ready makes perfect sense, but if the policy has no provision for servers to pace orders, diners are advised to retain their menus and order what they want when they want it.)

Norman Van Aken's new New World cuisine at Mundo 
knows no borders
Jonathan Postal
Norman Van Aken's new New World cuisine at Mundo knows no borders

Location Info



4251 Salzedo St.
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Category: Restaurant > Fusion

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami


Open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Thursday till 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday till 11:00 p.m.); light menu between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Market closes at 7:00 p.m. Call 305-442-6787.
Village of Merrick Park, 325 San Lorenzo Ave #1325, Coral Gables

Additionally, service at both sit-down meals went beyond attentive to intrusive. To clarify: Attentiveness is when a server unobtrusively keeps an eye out for diners looking around as though they want something, or for empty dishes that need clearing. Intrusiveness is when waiters break into an intense conversation to ask how you're enjoying the meal, and when busers repeatedly try to remove dishes that still contain considerable food. When Norman Van Aken is the chef in charge, diners want not only to finish every last morsel, but to lick the plate.

Food Writers Wanted

We're looking for freelance writers with at least one year experience describing food and restaurants. Please send clips, résumé, and cover letter to:

Jim Mullin, editor

Miami New Times

P.O. Box 011591

Miami, FL 33101

No phone calls, please

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