I’m always excited to be invited to a media dinner at a new restaurant, particularly one that has been getting rave reviews like Pijiu Belly.
Located near the booming Westside, the new restaurant features kicked up bar favorites with an Asian twist. Specialties include the Pijiu burger topped with a fried egg and kimchi and their signature rotisserie chicken.
The space is anchored by a central bar surrounded by large high top tables, ideal for meeting friends and sharing a few munchies. Pijiu is Mandarin for “beer” emphasizing their selection of mostly local brews. I chose a refreshing Thai wheat beer by Second Self Brewing as I took in the fun, casual decor. Kitschy signs painted on metal siding provide a pop of bright color against the muted walls.
Guests of Tori Allen PR ordered a couple of starters to share, the Thai tater tots and fried pork dumplings. Made with sweet potatoes, the tots were crispy fried, wok-tossed in garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro, then drizzled with a house made Sriracha mayo. The combination of sweet and spicy flavors was a winner! A towering skewer of fried pork dumplings was impressive in its presentation, but I found them to be somewhat dry.
For my entree I considered ordering the PB bahn mi, the restaurant’s take on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, noticing a nearby diner holding a hoagie filled with handfuls of cilantro, but opted for the half rotisserie chicken instead. Dry-rubbed and roasted for hours, the chicken is then flash fried to create an extra crispy skin. Served with their signature beer BBQ sauce, a pickled jalapeno, and daikon radish, even the half chicken is enough for sharing. I chose the roasted Brussels sprouts as my additional side.
I love crispy skin, often devouring it and leaving the meat behind. Although the skin on Pijiu Belly’s rotisserie chicken was indeed crispy, its natural texture was masked by the excessive dry rub. Nevertheless, I picked that bird clean and saved the meat for a tasty lunch the next day.
The entire staff was super friendly and accommodating, even offering us tastes of dishes we had not ordered, like the bulgogi cheesesteak hoagie, tender Korean-spiced beef and melted provolone with grilled onions and peppers. Other tempting dishes included Korean ramyun (ramen) soup and the roast pork belly sandwich with peach-hoisin sauce ordered by fellow blogger Erica, of Eating With Erica.
Pijiu Belly’s warm atmosphere and creative pub menu make it the perfect addition to this neighborhood.
678 10th Street NW 404-343-6828