Community’s Closing Forces Student to Venture Below 110th Street for Decent Chicken

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pio pioKatharine Abrams, Bwog’s culinary expert, reports

Still dreaming of butternut squash soup and sage ravioli, I hope to soon see Community Food and Juice without brown paper lining its windows.  However, Community’s indefinite close does have its advantages, namely forcing me to explore other dining options near campus. In its wake, Pio Pio, a Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant on 94th and Amsterdam, has become my go-to for delicious and comfortable neighborhood dining.

Pio Pio features an extensive menu of authentic Peruvian dishes but only one of them really matters—their specialty, the Chicken Pio. Whole chickens are roasted rotisserie style and marinated in a pungent Peruvian sauce that seeps into the meat. Peruvian grilling usually incorporates spices such as cumin, paprika, oregano, cloves, garlic, and lime. The result is a heavenly crisp skin encasing moist meat—the chicken alone can withstand any culinary test. Just in case you’re left unsatisfied, Chicken Pio comes with a side of green sauce that compliments the dish and adds a little kick.

The bird comes in three different combos, starting with the plain Chicken Pio. Next up is the Peruvian combo which comes with french fries and an avocado salad (year round!). The Chicken Pio culminates with the Matador Combo, which is served with rice and beans, tostones (fried plantains), salchipapa (sausage) and avocado salad. The menu is designed for sharing, so there are lots of different ways to have a good meal without going into credit card debt. The Peruvian Combo is a perfect amount of food for two hungry people or three friends with modest appetites—the Matador would work perfectly for three or four people if you want to try all the sides. And at $26 and $32 respectively, it’s definitely a great value for the quality of food, ranging from $8 to $13 per person for a meal with several different flavor profiles included. If you feel like trying one of the other Peruvian dishes without neglecting the chicken, I would recommend pairing the basic Chicken Pio with the Camarones Cuzco, a shrimp sauté in garlic, shallots, cilantro, white wine and yellow sauce over rice—this could easily feed four people for $32 total.

If price and chicken don’t convince you, their sangria should win you over. It’s worth splurging for a pitcher of the best sangria I’ve ever had—and I don’t usually like sangria. Even though Peruvian cuisine seems exotic at first, Pio Pio’s food is comforting; you can taste its home cooked origins in every bite. It’s no 113th and Broadway, but it’s pretty damn close.

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  1. Erf

    Flor de Mayo. Peruvian chicken. Closer. Cheaper. Free delivery. INCREDELICIOUS.

    The chicken and rice guy on Broadway and 120th is good too.

  2. Flor supporter  

    Agreed--you should definitely try Flor de Mayo. It's closer on 101st and Broadway! Something like $8 and some change for half a chicken, rice, lettuce, and tomato.

  3. it's all about  

    el rey de la caridad (107 and amsterdam):

    15.95 for:
    whole rotisserie chicken
    arroz (white or yellow)
    habichuela (beans)
    platanos (or avacado salad, if you wish)

    it's theee bomb

    • El Rey de la Caridad  

      Yea, that place is awesome, but it's only Dominican food...I'm psyched that there's Peruvian chicken around here. Anyone know if they also sell fried yucca to go with it?

  4. schmonz

    yeah but do any of these other places have talking green sauce? maybe with some training I could get Pio Pio's to compliment me personally.

  5. Pio Piio  

    is fucking EPIC

  6. ...  

    dreaming of cf&j? rich people with their "bank of mom and dad" credit cards that come with no bills need to shut the fuck up.

  7. gourmonger

    How about venturing beyond the immediate neighborhood?

    I've had both and would like to caution about the quality of chicken.

  8. nope  

    malecon at 97th and amsterdam...half a perfect chicken with two sides for $8

  9. Karen  

    Community is set to re-open in a couple of weeks. I saw planners in there over last Friday and poked my head in to ask.

    Know hope.

  10. Pio Pio  

    is AMAZING! Their shrimp is so good!

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