I checked in on El Tumi regularly about every two weeks beginning in February but gave up a month or so ago. I didn't know why it was taking so long to open. But I saw a review on another Internet site and I knew it was time to go. So I took my new point-and-shoot camera along and tried El Tumi.
The server asked me what I wanted to drink and I struggled to remember the name of the purple corn, cinnamon and clove drink and he said, "Chicha morada?" This is operated by the same family who operated the Peruvian restaurant on Oddie Boulevard and he remembered how much I loved it there.
This is nectar of the Gods, folks. There's just all kinds of flavors going on here. The clove and the cinnamon offer sweetness and spiciness. Plus there's light and dark fruit flavors. Love this stuff.
And although I didn't order one, they also have Cusquena, a beer from Peru brewed by a German brewer. It's the closest thing I've tasted in the United States to Bavarian beer since I visited Munich in 2001. I recommend both of those.
The old Sparks restaurant used to be a Long John Silvers or something like that and was larger. This restaurant is smaller but has a larger menu. They have fish dishes, which I don't remember on the menu of the old restaurant. They also have some new drinks I'll have to try.
You can get three smaller portions of entrees for $12.95 so that's what I did. I got Aji de Gallina, a shredded chicken mix with a creamy sauce made of Peruvian yellow chili, milke, bread and spices (as the menu said); Carapulcra, marinated chicken and pork; and Seco de Carne, beef cocked with cilantro and peas and wine.
The simple way to describe Aji de Gallina is that it's shredded chicken served in something like the cream sauce in a chicken pot pie. The menu describes it as being made with yellow chili but it's a mild chili. No spice at all. It had some nice flavors and kind of a nice texture. It was not served over anything and I get the sense this dish would be better served over something else. I still liked it.
The carapulcra was quite interesting too. This sauce had a little bit of zip to it. They partitioned the food on my plate with slices of yucca frita and I loved running the yucca frita through this sauce before eating it.
This reminded me more of Filipino chicken adobo (without the soy sauce) than anything else i've had in Latin America. A little bit of heat and some tang. Good stuff.
Finally there was the Seco de Carne. The only disappointment of the dinner came here and it was mild. It was listed on the menu as having peas. I was expecting fresh peas. It was peas and carrots and at best previously frozen, maybe canned. It was a mild set back.
The rest of dish itself is great. I could definitely taste the cilantro and there's a llttle bit of zing from other spices, plus probably garllic and onion. I think I liked this sauce best of all but there wasn't enough of it to really dip the yucca frita in it.
I don't want to scare anyone away with the talk of these spices, though. All are mildly spiced and not up to the scale of say Mexican dishes.
Look at my photos to see pictures of the food.
The restaurant is in a strip mall near Kietzke and Moana, the same strip mall with Pinnochio's.
I see myself returning to El Tumi to explore the expanded menu. It's nice to have a restaurant like this in Reno that's not just different but also good.
This is the kind of place for which Chowhound was invented. I hope the 'Hounds support it.
585 E. Moana Lane
Reno, NV 89502
From left to right is the plate of food, the Aji De Gallina, the Carapulcra and Seco de Carne.