Mi Corazón

Entrees fared reasonably well, but in no way held up to the three impressive starters. The traditional lomo saltado was a fine stir-fry dish of lean beef, onions, potatoes and garlic sautéed and served with French fries and rice (gotta love the ubiquitous starch—Peruvian recipes fit in quite well here in the land of meat-and-potatoes and take-out Chinese). The soy-sauced gravy seeped down into the rice and extra French fries and made for some good sopping once the veggies and meat were devoured.

The Chinese influence was again apparent in the arroz chaufa, or "Peruvian Chinese-style fried rice." The sodium was high, and the grease was prime...and it was good. Not worth replacing delivery with a drive to Irving, mind you, but good.

Bisteck a lo pobre proved to be an exercise in restraint. My dining mate received a thin peppered steak and two fried eggs (one hard, one medium) atop the expected Ore-Idas. It was clearly difficult for him to keep from downing the entire steak before I even made a dent in my lomo saltado. I understood why. Not only was the steak exceptionally tender and juicy despite its thinness, but with the egg yolk turning into a rich glaze on top, the dish was elevated to a savory plain much higher than the Andes' peak of Huascarán.

Tamal for all: Irving has the market cornered on Peruvian imports.
Steve Satterwhite
Tamal for all: Irving has the market cornered on Peruvian imports.

Location Info

Map

El Tumi Latin Restaurant

2430 N. Story Road
Irving, TX 75062

Category: Restaurant > South American

Region: Irving & Las Colinas

Details

El Tumi
Ceviche de pescado$12
Anticuchos$8
Papa rellena$5
Tamal$4
Lomo saltado$12
Bisteck a lo pobre$14
Arroz con pollo$15
Chicha morada$1.50 glass/$5 pitcher

Our other diner opted for another Latin classic: arroz con pollo. Her dish arrived with sautéed chicken laid out on top of the greenest rice I've ever laid eyes upon. The rice itself was green, as were peas and the little bits of cilantro. A visual shocker, sure, but in flavor it ventured over to the mild side. Our heat-loving cohort had to kick up the spice with some of the house's powerful red sauce.

After all the anticipation, stumbling over language, shrill flute music coming from the speakers and taste-testing, El Tumi didn't provide a scary, anxiety-inducing adventure, but one of more comfortable elements all wrapped up, stir-fried or sautéed. Sure, things were lost in translation, but perhaps for the better. There's a little piece of Peru sitting on Story Road in Irving, and it's ours for the examination. And as long as you can at least point to a menu to order, there's nothing to worry about. Well, except maybe those anticuchos. But when it comes to exploring, you have to let go of your native tongue...and you gotta have heart.

2430 N. Story Road, Irving, 972-252-8713. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. $$

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