Pio Pio Pio, dicen los Pollitos….

This past week, on the repeated recommendation of numerous friends, I took my family to a Peruvian restaurant in Jackson Heights, that is thronged with customers, day and night (I, myself, have actually gone here for lunch once before, and had a great meal). It is rumored to have the best recipe for the gastronomic marvel that is known as Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken. I know, I know…but before you say anything, let me tell you that the secrecy behind the recipes for these chickens (as well as the green Peruvian aji that sits on the table as a condiment) are practically a matter of Peruvian National Security!

The name of the restaurant is Pio Pio and is located on Northern Boulevard and 83rd Street in Jackson Heights. We arrived with very perky appetites, to find a colorful and beautifully appointed restaurant, with 2 dining rooms and a garden area suitable for dining, as well.

We wasted no time in ordering a carafe of Red Sangria, although Jerry and Erik opted for a nice, cold Cusquena Beer, accompanied by a platter of ceviche and some of the most delicious Pork Tamales I have ever tasted in my life. They were tender, almost soft, and very moist and full of flavor and served alongside a red onion aji. The Ceviche was a briny, impeccably fresh sea bass (corvina) and had an agreeable bitterness at the end, almost like from a naranja agria.

Pork Tamale with Red Onion Aji

Corvina Ceviche

Cusquena Beer and Sangria

One would think that this was an auspicious beginning to a meal, but in fact, we had to ask the waiter for our drink orders not once, but twice, and the music was so loud that you couldn’t hear other people sitting at your table. The food was also late in coming, and we had to ask for every little amenity like paper napkins. But, since the food had been so delicious up to this point, I was willing to make concessions. We ordered 2 Matador Platters for the table, which included an entire roasted chicken, tostones, rice and beans, and Salchipapa (very typical Peruvian dish, which tasted a lot like Nathan’s hot-dogs and fried potatoes on the same plate…I have never had this is Peru, soI don’t know if it s a regional thing, or if this was their “take” on the dish), and 2 Jalea Platters (fried seafood served with red onions) which was delicious (fried fish, hello?!), but would have merited from either a light vinaigrette or even a squeeze of lemon. We waited over 40 minutes for the food.

Matador

Jalea

Rice&Beans and Tostones

Choripan and Salad

That needn’t have been the problem, but apparently the food had been sitting, waiting for the waiter to pick it up. The chicken, though tasty, was dried out from the heat lamps. The tostones, served with a garlic mojo, were cold and limp, as were the fried potatoes on on the choripan plate. The Jalea was the highlight of the meal, with the fish fried to a crispy finish without a trace of oil.

I actually said to Miggy, that I remember the food the day of our lunch being much better, and she replied that it was the same food; the only difference was that the manager on duty the day we had lunch there was apparently keeping a close eye on things, and paying attention to the service. It couldn’t have been that they were overwhelmed, as there were empty tables in the restaurant, so I can’t really figure it out. What I will say is this: Pio Pio is a very good restaurant with less than mediocre service, and in my book, that is not a good recipe. Good food is important, yes, but if you are going to sit in an establishment and get upset over the service, it hardly seems worth it. You’ll have to roll the dice and decide for yourselves.

Pio Pio Restaurant

8413 Northern Boulevard

Flushing, NY

719 426 1010

6 Responses to “Pio Pio Pio, dicen los Pollitos….”


  1. 1 Anthony September 17, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Hola Dais,

    Thanks for the review. It’s nice to read a true review and not fluff. For example, Rachel’s “$40 a day” is a great concept, but I get tired of hearing how great everything is, when in reality, we all know that is not always the case.

    Your review was fair and expressed your experience. I would still give it a go.

    Still have to get you “down the shore” and try some of our fabulous establishments! The Point Pleasant Beach area is only an hour from Manhattan.

    Have a great day,
    “the sofrito pc”
    Anthony

  2. 2 daisy September 17, 2007 at 11:48 am

    As always, it’s lovely to hear from you, Anthony. Definately give Pio Pio a chance, bearing in mind that while the food is good, the experience can go either way, because of the service.
    I could definately use some “downtime” at the shore! oxoDaiz

  3. 3 Linda September 18, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Daisy,
    Pam Silvestri has been addressing the issue of service lately in her turningtables blog on silive.com and it has also become a topic of conversation on the restaurant forum of the same website. It is sad when what should be an overall great eating experience is depreciated by poor service. The food sounds great and although I don’t often get to Queens, I have friends who live in Jackson Heights and I will let them know about Pio Pio, if they don’t already know.
    Linda

  4. 4 daisy September 18, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Hola Linda, Pam and I are certainly on the same page when it comes to theis topic. Good food and great service go ahand in hand, and if management doesn’t get that, then they have a poor definition of the business Thanks for checking in!

  5. 5 Suzan H September 20, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    You’ll just have to come to Winchester Virginia where this Bronx girl gets very good Peruvian rotisserie chicken at a very reasonable price.

  6. 6 daisy September 24, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Suzan..I will keep this in mind when in Virginia!

    Daisy


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