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Peruvian Cuisine Heats Up in Hell's Kitchen

Last night I checked out the Pio Pio on 10th avenue for some quality Peruvian fare. This was my first time at this location, and my lack of prior research caused me to be quite surprised by the stylish and trendy décor since the Pio Pios that I know and love are pretty dive-y. The atmosphere was young and suitable for a large group, much like the one that I went out with last night. The acoustics in the main dining room however leave much to be desired as I was practically yelling in the ear of the person next to me in order to be heard. Although it might have been the fact that I was with a group of 15 reunited sorority girls, which is slightly reminiscent of a pack of hyenas on speed.

We ordered two pitchers of Sangria, and as a fair warning you should know that despite the fruity taste, that stuff is strong (but it did not stop us from ordering three more). The whole chicken was delicious as usual, the meat was tender and moist and the skin was crispy and flavorful. A few of the girls ordered fish including the Mero con Salsa de Porto (Chilean Sea Bass) and the salmon. The sea bass was cooked perfectly over a bed of spinach and mushrooms and doused in a cherry reduction. The flavors complemented one another beautifully to create a coherent and flavor-packed dish.  One of my personal favorite sides and definitely a must order are the Yucca Fries, which have just the right amount of crunch on the outside and softness on the inside. The only way to make them any better is to dip them in the sauce that comes on the side.

The dessert was mediocre and forgettable, not horrible, but nothing to get excited over. I say, when it comes to Pio Pio, sticking to the classics is the way to go. Sangria. Chicken. Rice. Beans. Perfect.