My loves! My taste buds (Get it? Buds, like friends? My name is Nikki and I’m a shitty pun addict. Apologies in advance). I have had a crazy busy week full of super-long work days, multiple trips to the Verizon store in the hope that maybe, just maybe, one employee will be willing and able to make my iPhone work abroad, and a fruitless quest to find a new yoga studio (the wonderful one I had been going to since I moved here just shuttered its’ doors. Le downward-facing dog wah).
Anyhow, sorry for the lack of pictures of food and shoes. Fortunately for all of us, though I have been too swamped to blog, I have not (and will never be) been too swamped to dine. Last week, a friend and I checked out Pipa Tapas y Mas in Gramercy.
[Pipa’s welcoming entrance. Image c/o New York Mag]
I promised said friend I would refer to her in my blog as my Ginger Goddess, so I will mention now that Pipa was my Ginger Goddess’s suggestion (on a separate note, aren’t pretty redheads great? I have two redheaded friends, and they are both super pretty, even more so because they have overcome the adversity of being gingers and risen into an even higher rank of attractive than those of us with regular blonde and brown hair. Pretty redheads everywhere–I mean this as a compliment).
Ginger Goddess had been to Pipa before, and I was thrilled to try the restaurant because of its’ affiliation with ABC Kitchen. ABC Kitchen is one of my unicorn restaurants–other claim to have been there, but I am not sure it exists. One–it is hidden inside a furniture store away from prying passerby’s eyes, and two–whenever I try to make a reservation I am greeted with an Open Table message informing me that there are no tables within 2.5 hours of my requested time, or an overly friendly hostess letting me know I could dine at 4:45 or 11PM, if I’d like (WOMAN. I am neither a senior citizen or a vampire. I would NOT like. Ever). Pipa is ABC Kitchen’s lower-key tapas bar. Also decorated by ABC Carpet & Home, and located across the street, the restaurant was considerably more accomodating of our 8PM table for two.
[Chandeliers and exposed brick. Image c/o New York Mag]
The interior of Pipa is gorgeous. Massive chandeliers light up an otherwise dim and cavernous room, large tapestries and mirrors adorn the walls, and small wooden tables abuzz with the chatter of girl-dates provide a welcoming vibe. Ginger Goddess and I were seated right on time and promptly ordered a pitcher of sangria. I’m pretty particular about sangria, as I detest drinks that taste yummy but do nothing towards getting me drunk. 75% of sangrias fall into this category. The other 25% magically taste just like juice but leave me with an Asian glow and a huge grin plastered across my face after two glasses. Happily, Pipa’s red sangria, priced reasonably but certainly not a bargain at $36 a pitcher, fell into the latter group. Sangria-fueled, we got overzealous with our tapa ordering and decided on six to share.
[We started with almond-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, piggy-back dates. I could and would gladly eat about 25 of these in a sitting]
[Champinones with wild mushrooms, rosemary, thyme & truffle followed. These were not my favorite dish, but there’s not much bad one can say about fried truffle balls]
[Steak skewers with paprika & coriander marinade came after. The steak was perfectly grilled, and the sauce delightfully spicy]
Unfortunately not pictured (Ginger Goddess and I were too busy gossiping) are sauteed Ecuadorian shrimp (perfect), roasted goat cheese and red pepper balls (for a dish with my favorite ingredient, unmemorable) and patatas bravas (the most delectable potatoes ever. Crispy, with a cheesy aioli sauce, I would gladly have these patatas bravas on the side of every meal I consume for the rest of my life).
I give my meal at Pipa 4 out of 5 stars. I loved having tapas in a place that wasn’t overly trendy and outrageously priced, and, with a vibe similar to the nearby Boqueria, Pipa was considerably tastier and provided an overall better ambiance and meal. The last star is missing only because with a Google Doc of over one hundred restaurants to try in New York, I wouldn’t rush to come back unless I was in the neighborhood, or out of luck with reservations. I would, however, consider getting the patatas bravas and piggy-back dates to go about twice weekly.