The bad news is that 4 Suyos, one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants—which I loved for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and BYOB policy as much as its excellent food—is closed. The good news is that I only realized it was gone when I went to Tumi
, a Peruvian restaurant that, it turns out, occupies the old 4 Suyos space. Aside from a fresh coat of paint on the walls, new curtains, and the addition of flashing lights that frame the front windows, the new place looks almost identical to its predecessor. Low-key vibe? Check. BYOB? Check. While the management has changed, the chairs remain the same.
What's different is the menu. Not radically different: it's still traditional Peruvian food, with classics like ceviche, lomo saltado
, aji de gallina
, seco de cordero
, and papas a la huancaina
. But there is a wider range, with nearly three times as many entrees as before. And while 4 Suyos clearly made an effort to accommodate vegetarians, with a few entrees featuring tofu, seitan, and even a not-so-traditional pasta dish with pesto and mushrooms, Tumi's vegetarian entrees are more typical of Peruvian restaurants. You can have your sauteed vegetables served over rice, French fries, or spaghetti—and that's it.
As long as you're not a vegetarian, though, there are plenty of choices. Beef heart skewers, beautifully spiced and tender, are some of the best I've had, and the restaurant's version of aji de gallina (shredded chicken in a creamy walnut-cheese sauce) is more than decent. Some of the octopus in a mixed seafood ceviche was a bit on the rubbery side, but more care was taken with the shrimp in a picante de camarones
. The menu description for the latter dish was entirely in Spanish ("camarones en aderezo con crema con pan con leche
"), and knowing the language didn't really help since that translates, literally, to "shrimp in seasoning with cream with bread with milk." The waiter couldn't enlighten us much more but did heartily recommend it, and it turned out to be the best decision of the night (besides those beef skewers). Delicate tail-on shrimp arrive swimming in what tastes like chile-tomato oil, topped with a thick, creamy sauce flecked with parsley. It's a rich dish, best shared between two people—but I wouldn't suggest more than two, or someone may end up getting stabbed with a fork.
Tumi, 2727 W. Fullerton, 312-934-8959