Pipa: Tapas for the New York Yuppie
Pipa gets top-marks for atmosphere. Clearly built to lure Flatiron’s yuppie population to its restaurant-in-a-furniture-store space, Pipa is just plain gorgeous. The ceiling is completely covered with sparkling crystal chandeliers, each its own unique piece of art. The chandeliers cast a dim glow over the cavernous space with dark wood tables, dark wood floors, and dark walls. Pipa just oozes romance – and lucky me, I was brought here for a birthday date!
Busy and buzzing, Pipa is seductive but also full of life and music. Half way through my dinner, a small flamenco troupe took the stage and added even more zest to the already considerably zesty experience. So zesty in fact, that I felt the need to highlight that in red.
The food is, unfortunately, just decent. Spanish and Latin American tapas, the food seems to get lost in the entire scene. So much attention is paid to the decor and entertainment that the cuisine falters. The menu is extensive, offering both traditional and more funky tapas dishes. On the traditional side are Spanish olives, mini chorizo, patatas bravas, arroz con pollo, paella, and ham croquettes, while some of the more innovative dishes include piquillos stuffed with crab meat, shrimp and paprika aioli, flat breads with mushrooms, figs, serrano ham, almonds, caramelized onions and truffle oil, shrimp pot pie, and pan-seared tuna with sauteed spinach and wasabi ginger aioli. My recommendation? Order a plethora of small dishes to taste as much as possible. Hidden within the average cuisine are some pretty delicious dishes, you just need to find Pipa’s culinary strengths. I just loved the Patatas Bravas – in my mind, roasted potatoes in spicy mayo is just heaven – as well as the paella, which was just the right consistency.
Aside from the average food, Pipa is supremely fun and visually stimulating. Yuppie couples, well-dressed groups of young women, and groups of suit-clad businessmen clamor for tables and space at the bar to partake in the revelry. If you’re looking for a good time with reliably good food and pitchers of sangria (how can you say no?), Pipa is your darling.