Dinner in Manhattan at Pio Pio

I was in Manhattan after seeing a play and hungry. It is a goal of mine to become more familiarized with the city and this day was a good start. Hell’s Kitchen has a lot of great options, and we settled on trying some Peruvian cuisine at Pio Pio (604 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10036). You can almost walk right by the shop on the street, very nondescript, but not at all that way inside. It was dark upon entering (so please excuse the quality of the photos) and once we walked through the bar area and downstairs the whole huge dining area was covered in wooden sticks, including the ceiling. IMG_3240The place was loud and bustling. We quickly put in drink and appetizer orders. My citrusy drink was heavy handed with some Peruvian brandy, well worth the price. We got the chicken empanadas at the recommendation of our waiter and they were so good! IMG_3241Flavorful shredded chicken with raisins dipped in a fantastic orange sauce, I could have eaten a plate of these for my meal. Chicken is the jam here, they are known for their rotisserie. If you play your cards right this place can be extremely affordable. Three people split the Matador Combo for $38, and there was an additional portion to take home. The combo includes a whole rotisserie chicken (in four distinct portions), avocado salad, rice & beans, tostones, and salchipapa (franks and fries). IMG_3243 IMG_3246 IMG_3247We were initially going to split this combo between two people, while another planned on getting their own rotisserie chicken meal. Our thoughtful waiter changed our order so that we weren’t getting two whole chickens (a ridiculous amount of food!) and the same food otherwise, and he saved us a good bit of money. On this note, the service here is great! Quick and efficient, and my water cup never reached half full. The chicken was perfectly tender and delightful when dipped in the mildly spicy green sauce. The sides were plentiful I particularly loved the yummy beans & rice and the fresh avocado salad, with green sauce on everything of course. For dessert four people perfectly shared the chef’s dessert tasting so we got to try a bit of everything. IMG_3248They are very relaxed about substitutions here. Our waiter accommodated us a side substitution with our meal and we swapped an extra Peruvian chocolate cake in lieu of a flan (not the biggest fan of flan texture, plus big chocolate lovers at the table). Dessert was all so scrumptious. The chocolate and tres leches cakes were great, no surprise there. The lucuma (a traditional Peruvian fruit ice cream) and the alfajores (Peruvian sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche) were really fantastic as well and I probably wouldn’t have thought to order them without trying the chef’s tasting. Four people enjoyed a great meal, great service, and affordable price for a trendy restaurant right in the middle of Manhattan.

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