Chocolate Raspberry Martini

Tumo's Ristorante
6419 Hampton Avenue

Feb 13, 2008 at 4:00 am
We were in high school the first time we came to Tumo's. It was as far into St. Louis city as we had ever ventured from south county, save for the time we drove Gravois Road for nearly an hour, "just to see where it went," as we later explained to our perplexed parents. An old boyfriend had taken us to lunch here and we thought he was so worldly, so well-traveled, for knowing about this space deep in the mysterious city we lived so near to but knew so little about. We remember the meal being fancy and filling, one of the best meals we'd ever had when dining out. And so we head again to Tumo's, located down the street from where we now call home.

We're eating and drinking solo this time around, and we aren't feeling up to bellying up, so we ask to sit at a table. A waitress seats us in a booth about five feet from the bar itself, where we become an unwilling third party in conversations about copper wiring and ouzo and the New York Giants.

We'd like to think our tastes have evolved somewhat over the years, and to a point they have: We were a bit disappointed that the free bread turns out to be simple slices of white and our salad was regular ol' iceberg. But we still turn up our noses to people who turn theirs up to Provel and, with the low-lit candles, here-and-there stained glass and black-and-white family photos that are interspersed with iconic black-and-white posters, we can still see the simple charm in the restaurant that we remembered from long ago. Indeed, we eat every bite of our meal.

Tumo's wine-by-the-glass selection is rather short and it doesn't do much for us. But for an after-dinner drink, we opt for something we would have tried in high school (er, we mean, once we were 21 years old) for old times' sake. And there it is: the chocolate raspberry martini, made with Absolut Raspberri, Crème de Cacao, DeKuyper Razzmatazz and a Hershey's Kiss. It arrives, a watery-brown concoction. The chocolate flavor strangles the raspberry until its taste is barely above a whisper. The Hershey's Kiss waits in the bottom of the glass like a bored period at the end of a sentence. The drink's syrupy nature leaves our mouth dry and we return to the diet Coke we had with dinner a few times before we abandon the chocolate raspberry martini altogether.

As we wait for our tab, a family of three sits down at an adjoining booth. The son, probably a freshman or sophomore in high school, considers Tumo's menu. He decides on an entrée. We hear him order it confidently, and we smile. He's ready to eat what could very well be the greatest meal of his life. So far.

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