Tumi Delivers Colorful, Zesty Peruvian Cuisine in Chandler

For a refreshing dish of the coastal variety, it's hard to beat Peruvian-style ceviche.

Even at its most basic, the South American country's popular staple of raw fish marinated in lime juice is nothing short of tart and spicy satisfaction, the best ones so fresh they taste as if they've tumbled right out of the sea. A few bites in and you can see why ceviche has its own national holiday in Peru.

Oscar Graham, chef and owner of Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine in Chandler, makes very good ceviche. His ceviche de pescado features a mound of chopped pieces of white-flesh tilapia in a thin, bracingly sharp and spicy juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers, topped with slivers of red onion and served with a soft hunk of sweet potato and a quarter-ear of pearly, large-kernel Peruvian corn. There also is shrimp ceviche, a fish, scallop, squid, mussel, and octopus ceviche and, if you ask nicely, fish tiradito, a cousin of ceviche, in which Graham slices tilapia into long, thin pieces and holds the onions.

Chef Oscar Graham's ceviche de pescado features a mound of chopped pieces of tilapia in a thin, bracingly sharp juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers.
Evie Carpenter
Chef Oscar Graham's ceviche de pescado features a mound of chopped pieces of tilapia in a thin, bracingly sharp juice of lime and Peruvian chile peppers.
The Arroz con Mariscos is a Peruvian version of Paella.
Evie Carpenter
The Arroz con Mariscos is a Peruvian version of Paella.

Location Info

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Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine

2160 N. Alma School Road, 116
Chandler, AZ 85224

Category: Restaurant > Peruvian

Region: Chandler

Details

Tumi Fine Peruvian Cuisine
2160 North Alma School Road, Chandler
480-821-1717
www.tumi-restaurant.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
Anticuchos: $7.50
Ceviche de pescado: $11.95
Arroz con mariscos: $17.95
Pollo a la brasa (whole): $16.95

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"I like adding cancha to my ceviche," says front-of-the-house manager and Lima-born Franklin Foronda of the addictively salty and toasted corn nuts that are complimentary at Tumi. "They make it more delicious."

Graham opened Tumi, named after the Incan knife and national symbol of Peru, in February 2012 in a Chandler strip mall near the intersection of Warner and Alma School roads. Although it's the first restaurant he's owned, Graham, who was born and raised in Lima, has been cooking Peruvian food in the States for over 30 years, first in California and then, starting in 2010, in the Valley, where Graham worked on and off at now-defunct Contigo Peru in Mesa.

At the tiny Tumi, Graham mixes his knowledge of Peruvian cooking with the cuisine of the country: a fusion of the indigenous Inca with influences from its Spanish, Asian, Italian, French, and African immigrants utilizing ingredients such as potatoes, chile peppers, and limes.

"You can eat ceviche in every city in Peru and they all have a different flavor," Foronda says. "Here, we make our dishes the way they would in Lima — from the coast."

Not all of Graham's traditional Peruvian dishes are stellar — some simply fail to excite — but if you're in the area (and especially if Foronda's on the floor to direct you to the ones Graham does best), the place is worth a visit.

Some of the most unique dishes of Peruvian cuisine can be had as appetizers. And thankfully, at Tumi, trying them for the first time or indulging in a few of your favorites means not having to commit to just one.

Ask for the off-menu sampler and you'll be treated to a fantastic Peruvian foursome. There are anticuchos, two street-food skewers of lightly vinegary and spicy, cumin-kissed pieces of beef heart, and a single papa rellena, an oblong on-the-go snack of creamy and golden-fried potato dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef, hard-boiled egg, onions, olives, and raisins. Also on the plate are two starchy offerings of papa a la Huancaina (potatoes Huancayo-style), thick boiled slices of potatoes served cold and smothered in an intensely yellow, spicy, and creamy cheese sauce for a kind of picnic-style potato salad by way of Peru, and the light and airy causa rellena de pollo, a delicate, cake-like creation of two, oval discs of molded and cold yellow mashed potatoes seasoned with lime and aji peppers and layered with a creamy chicken salad.

Although the restaurant's absence of a liquor license disappoints the natural inclination to wash down the tongue-tingling flavors of the food with a frosty beer, you could do just as well with a glass of dark, sweet, cinnamon-tinged chicha morada (Peruvian purple corn juice) or maracuya (passion fruit juice).

If you're in the mood for more of the ocean's bounty at Graham's cevicheria, several other seafood-centered items can help to continue the journey.

Skip the surprisingly bland Peruvian-style fried rice with shrimp and move on to the mildly flavored mariscos al aji amarillo, a colorful dish of fish, octopus, shrimp, squid, and scallops studded with peas and red peppers in a sauce of yellow chiles or, better yet, the livelier pescado a lo macho, in which the seafood medley is coated in a spicy orange sauce and spooned over a hunk of lightly fried tilapia for a bolder taste with a bit of crunch. The best of the seafood bunch, however, may be Graham's arroz con mariscos, the Peruvian version of paella. Combining three favorites of the country — seafood, rice, and chile peppers — this filling and spicy creation also makes use of Parmesan cheese to bring together the flavors of its lobster, shrimp, scallops, and mussels. Plus, the portion size is generous enough for two to enjoy.

Given Graham's very good interpretations of some of Peru's most popular dishes, you could hardly be blamed for sticking with the obligatory classics at his restaurant.

There is the comforting, stew-like aji de gallina, featuring strips of chicken in a somewhat spicy sauce of milk, bread, Parmesan cheese, chiles, garlic, and nuts; lomo saltado, the popular Peruvian and Chinese fusion dish made with tender slices of beef stir-fried with red onions, chiles, garlic, and tomatoes in a vinegary, sweet, and cilantro-kissed sauce delectably sopped up by its foundation of fries; and excellent pollo a la brasa, or Peruvian grilled chicken. Graham's version, marinated for 24 hours and made with more than 20 ingredients — including dark beer, soy sauce, chile peppers, rosemary, and cumin — before taking a spin in the rotisserie oven, is pretty much perfect. Order it up with the standard salad and fries and forget your table manners — this fowl is traditionally eaten with the hands.

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3 comments
gargield12
gargield12

My family and I felt in love with this restaurant since the first time we went. The owner and the staff are very friendly. Their food is the best peruvian food ever and the prices are very reasonable. When I go on the weekends I always order the breakfast (peruvian tamale, pork sandwich, and a delicious peruvian salsa made with tomates, onions and lime juice). Every single dish that my family and I have ordered have been delicious such as Jaela, Aji de pollo, sea food fried rice, and the rostisserie chicken. I cant wait to go this weekend !!!

aneg12
aneg12 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I love this place!! The food is great. I have never tasted anything like their Lomo saltado or Arroz con Mariscos. My daughter loves the Alfajores, the anticuchos and the arroz chaufa. I strongly recommend it .

Pavlisimo
Pavlisimo like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Whoa! Just read this for the first time and I'm stoked to hear its good. Also, I live nearby!

WOOT!

 
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