In case you hadn't heard, there is now a Pio Pio in Murray Hill on 34th Street between Second and Third Avenues. I was excited that it's within walking distance (and, for the return trip, "walking off distance") of my apartment. Here's how it stacks up versus the UES location where I'd been several times:
The space: same narrow, shotgun design (or confine--you decide). The Murray Hill location has banquettes on one wall, though. The tables feel a tad larger. Bad lighting though.
The aji: of course the most imporant thing (not) on the menu. The aji at the new location, at least tonight, had more heat but slightly less salty and sweet flavor than that at the UES one. Still good, just a little different.
The chicken: just as good; if maybe a little less salty. Not a pro or con, just a difference.
Sides--avocado salad: someone observed that it was more overdressed. Otherwise the same.
Sides--yucca frita: not frita enough, pale color without much flavor (not that yucca is flavorful in the first place). This was the only real deficiency in comparison to the UES location.
Sangria--same as UES, $20 per pitcher.
Has anyone else eaten at this new Pio Pio? I don't know if these observed variations are within normal nightly tolerances, or if they are attributable to the new kitchen/staff.