A chicken combo that’s not for the faint of heart.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Curbed’s Eater site and A Hamburger Today for linking to yesterday’s review of Good Burger.  Keep up the good work, guys!

For today’s entry, I’d like to discuss the merits of the Matador combo available from Pio Pio, on 1st Ave. between 90th and 91st Sts.  While the list price of around $30 doesn’t fully compute for many of you cheapniks, hear me out, if you will.  Included as the basis of this combination is one WHOLE roast chicken, which is usually available all by its lonesome for a tenner or so.  Actually, hell, that’s not a bad deal, either; probably could feed at least two hungry gents by itself.  

When I ordered it, though, it wasn’t two hungry gents eating.  It WAS hungry me and my girlfriend, though, after walking about 60 round-trip blocks to order and pick it up.  Let me tell you, after a walk like that (carrying a bag of food on the return trip that felt like it weighed 25 pounds) I was tres loopy – possibly the happiest man alive once the food was opened.  I was thankfully not disappointed (as I would have been walking 60 blocks for chicken alone, no matter how good it was). The chicken itself is extremely tasty, and I’m not even usually a huge fan of chicken on the bone: tender and juicy, well-flavored, and very satisfying.  It comes with a green spicy sauce (apparently named aji) that will knock your socks off, too, though I tended to use this more as a dipping sauce for other parts of the meal.

Like I said, if it was just the chicken itself, the meal would feed two hungry gents.  However, this Matador combo is the kind of meal that should not be approached by less than four people for fear of extensive leftovers and/or extreme food coma (or, if you’re my grandfather, “uncontrollable weariness”).  Of course, with just the two of us, we were somewhere between “uncontrollable” and “wailing.”  The Matador combo hits another gear – you don’t just get some crappy fries or chorizo with it, you get a TON of salchipapas (fries and sausage cooked together, to blend flavors).  Apparently this is a hugely popular street food in Peru, and I take my hat off to the Peruvian people for their inventiveness.  Delicious stuff, though the sausage could have tasted less hot-dog-ish.

Just in case you were thinking that this might be the least healthy meal ever, yes, there’s a salad that comes with it.  No, it’s not extraordinarily interesting, but it probably will help you digest your gut-bomb-like meal, so don’t hesitate to tuck into it, there, tiger – and you can thank us later.  Also included are generous portions of rice and soup-like beans, fried plantains, and a lifetime supply of Zantac!

Okay, I made that last one up.  Anyway, it’s a good deal (around $7-$8 a person), and I think it would feed four people with normal hunger, as long as two were willing to eat dark meat.  Just remember to get it takeout, or dress up – this restaurant looked, oddly, fairly dressy when we were there, and there’s nothing less fun than getting your nice duds on for a real pig-out.  Unless you’re rocking the sans-a-belt slacks thing.

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