PIO PIO

>> 2/25/08

PIO PIO
62-30 Woodhaven Boulevard
Rego Park, NY 11374
(718) 458-0606


Pio Pio sits on a corner on the south side of Woodhaven Boulevard on a relatively forgettable, quiet block of local shops. Pio Pio itself is the polar opposite of the rest of the block. It's small, but packed with people. And they're all seeking dinner for a price that's one step above free.

Pio Pio has all of seven tables and can sit a whopping 22 people at most. It might want to consider expanding. The tables are constantly and continuously full. There's virtually no room to move, between the old customers leaving, the new customers coming in, the waiters running in and out of the kitchen and the line of people waiting to take food home or get a table. The line literally stretched to the door while I was here.



The menu at this little Peruvian joint is simple. They have all of one (1) entree: Chicken Pio, and a handful of side dishes, all starch. South Beach Dieters need not apply.

So Bro and I ordered the Chicken Pio and four sides to try. The volume of food you get is immense. We may have ordered for two, but we were given enough for four. The chicken itself is a testament to the "do one thing and do it well" philosophy. Amazingly tender and moist. Skin aside, it was virtually fat free and tasted amazing. The sides were disappointing by comparison.

We ordered Papas Fritas, french fries, which while not bad, weren't made the way I like them. They were too soggy for me and Bro concurred. Toss on some salt and ketchup and you were fine, but there wasn't any crisp outside with the soft inside that I like. We also tried the Fried Yuca, which is like humongous, but harder, French fries. Not bad. Better than the fries themselves and better when you dip them in one of the two sauces that come with the meal. Sauce one: ultra-hot green. Sauce two: vinegar lemon (?). We ordered Maduros, sweet plaintains, a dish I love, but instead got Tostones, green plantains, a dish I don't. If you've never had them, picture a flattened banana, fried and hard, almost devoid of taste. Skip these. Finally, we ordered Yellow Rice. This was the best side of all of them and I was sucking it down like it was going out of style. Add in the chicken and I was en el cielo. I hear that the avocado salad is great, but did not order it myself.



If Woodhaven Boulevard is too far to trek, an understandable dilemma, then there's one in Jackson Heights, one on Cyprus Avenue in the Bronx, one in Green Point, and one on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I think that these are all larger than this one, which I've heard was the first of the bunch, and they might have larger menus.

One whole chicken and four sides was under $24. We should have, but didn't, order the Sangria, pitchers of which flowed from the kitchen like, uh, wine.



2 comments:

John February 27, 2008 at 2:09 PM  

Jon,

You got to try the Pio Pio in Jackson Heights. It's a much bigger restaurant -- same delicious food, but with a great atmosphere.

John

Jane June 25, 2010 at 4:52 PM  

I live right across the street from Pio Pio, so needless to say I eat there and take out quite often. A better chicken I've yet to meet. The green spicy sauce (for drowning the juicy meat in) is their amazingly delicious avocado sauce. I could drink it by the glass it's so good! The lime sauce you referred to is actually their dressing. I use it on the only salad they have: the avocado salad. It is a bowl of standard lettuce- with tomatoes, sliced carrots, onions, celery and of course a fanned out serving of half an avocado on top. Once I'm done with the avocado and tomatoes I don't bother finishing the rest of the salad. It's really nothing to crow about. What you SHOULD have gotten for your a side are their beans (some of the best I've tried, with nice slices of cooked peppers and onions, not too thin, lots of thick liquid to soak into the rice). And I agree that the rice is really very good. Another fun side is the salchipapas. Yup, french fries with sliced hotdogs :) It's really a meal all in itself. I actually really like their fries, so I'm happy to order this anytime. And finally the sangria. Their pitchers hold about 4-5 generous glasses. The drink is STRONG so you'll be walking out tipsy. It's also very sweet. It's tasty, with alot of really nice flavors but sometimes becomes overwhelming. I definitely have to be in the mood for it.

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