In a city chock-full of trendsetters, a restaurant’s success is dependent on so much more than good food. Many people who go out to eat in New York look for restaurants that deliver a certain caliber of dining experience, a style-conscious ambience, and, more often than not, an escape from the frenetic pace of daily life.
Pippali, a unique new Indian restaurant on a quiet street in Murray Hill, does an admirable job of fusing traditional concepts, innovative flavor elements, and attractive plating in a trendy atmosphere. Esteemed Chef Peter Beck, formerly of Tamarind, and restauranteur Pradeep Shinde have teamed up to serve high quality dishes and to alter popular perceptions of Indian cuisine, a worthy effort that seems to be slowly but surely gaining traction in New York. Chef Beck’s dishes are carefully prepared and creatively designed, and do not appear to be particularly hampered by archaic notions of what an Indian restaurant “should” serve on its menu.
The classics, such as Mango Lasis, Tandoori Chicken, and Naan are all there, and they’re made very well. What makes Pippali unique are the atypical flavor elements and inventive menu additions. The Anjeeri Tikki appetizer, for example, takes two vegetables that people tend not to be overly enthusiastic about—roasted beets and carrots—and fuses them into a deliciously spicy patty, stuffed with fig and mint, that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
There are plenty of regional entrees to choose from, and while many of them stick to tradition, the Pippali Specialties section of the menu is definitely worth perusing as this section seems to most directly reflect the overall vision of the restaurant and displays the measured risks Chef Beck has taken with the cuisine. The Batak Uttappam, duck breast hand rubbed with cracked peppers and served upon a Portobello mushroom uttapam (a lentil-rice pancake), is truly inspired and beautifully cooked. Pippali has an impressive selection of meat dishes for the shameless carnivores among us, and also has plenty of seafood and vegetarian dishes for the otherwise-inclined. If you’re a fan of candlelit dinners, good Indian food, and innovative cooking, Pippali is definitely worth a visit.
Pippali is now open for business at 129 East 27th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues.