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New York City Restaurants – Dish Buzz: Pipa

Posted Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 at 4:59 pm by Lara in Cultural Bees. More in 10003

If you’re not looking for Pipa, you could miss it. (Although, from the packed restaurant and full bar area, it doesn’t seem like a problem.) A part of ABC Carpet & Home, you’ll find yourself surrounded in a sea of chandeliers ranging from subtle to gaudy. If that’s your thing, choose to skip on dinner and perhaps make a fraction of a percent’s payment toward their pricetags in the thousands.

Pipa is a Spanish restaurant specializing in tapas. The menu also includes a small selection of larger items if an entree is preferred. I have wanted to try some more Spanish restaurants in the city since seeing Bourdain’s No Reservations episode on Spain. For our group of four, four of the tapas along with one larger plate and a dessert would prove to be more than sufficient.

Their sangria comes either by the glass or by the pitcher. At $10 a glass, the $32 pitcher was a great value split among three, giving us a little more than a glass and a half each. It’s a great mix of ingredients – Gran Torrones orange liquor, chambord, apricot brandy, Cointreau, and fresh apples and peaches. They also have a decent- sized wine menu by the glass.

Arroz Con Pollo, Pipa - Flatiron

Arroz Con Pollo - Pipa, Flatiron

For our larger dish, we tried the Arroz Con Pollo, which was a smaller helping similar to a paella. It was served with paprika flavored Valencia rice mixed with free range chicken, chorizo, green peas, roasted peppers and black olives. It was a large portion, justifying the slightly higher pricetag of $19. The rice had such amazing and strong flavor. I can’t say I’ve ever had paprika flavored rice, but it was an excellent compliement to draw out the flavor of the chicken. And paired with the chorizo (of which you know I am a big fan), it was a well-balanced dish.

Their Cocoas, or Catalan flat breads, were probably the highlight of the meal for me. We had their chicken cocoa, which had thinly sliced chorizo, manchego cheese, and a few diced jalapenos. The bread, which forms the base for the cocoas, was unique – not fluffy, not thick, and not crunchy either. It was subtle, fresh, and didn’t overpower the important part – its toppings. I could eat Pipa’s chorizo daily. Amazing. I’ve had a lot of chorizo and I think this is the best preparation I’ve found. It was almost in small round pieces, similar to pepperoni, and had been prepared similarly. It just barely bordered on crispy around the edges, a slight darker border running around each piece. The flavor popped through with every bite – powerful and salty. Our other cocoa was their skirt steak. The steak was well-prepared, not rubbery, not overcooked, and topped with roasted peppers and a chimichurri sauce. I think it was the chorizo though that caused me to favor the chicken cocoa to the steak.

Their sauteed octopus, Pulpo Gallego, was tender and not close to boardering on rubbery. It was served with roasted potatoes, black olives, and smoked paprika. All of the flavor was essentially in the meat itself. It came out looking bare and simple, but thankfully the taste was anything but. We chose a couple of different croquettes out of their offerings – one cheese and one seafood. The seafood was good – an interesting mix of scallops and shrimp. I would definitely recommend the cheese croquette, which consisted of a creamy goat cheese. It really does melt into your mouth and is a slightly crispy, salty treat. Each croquette order included four oblong croquettes.

Chocolate Bomba - Pipa, Flatiron

Chocolate Bomba - Pipa, Flatiron

For dessert, we went with the chocolate bomb. It wasn’t particularly Spanish, but I can never fault good chocolate. It was fluffy mousse of white and dark chocolate. It wasn’t molten, as the dishes often are when flagged as bombs, but instead was whipped and fluffy. It was a nice size for sharing and not bad at $8. This picture says everything you need to know.






Pipa – 38 E 19th St (between Broadway & Park Ave S) – 212.677.2233
Reservations Highly Recommended




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