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Restaurants housed in stores can be scary like Little Caesars in K Mart, but of course, ABC Carpet and Home is no blue light special. Though after facing a sold out showing of "Y Tu Mama Tambien," tapas, across the street, seemed like a good second choice.

It was Saturday night, there was a long wait, the Gipsy Kings were blaring, but by the end of the evening, I was happy as a clam (or maybe that was the giant pitcher of sangria taking effect). We ordered way more food than we should've: shrimp and crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, shrimp in garlicky olive oil, a hearty salad with machengo, Serrano ham and the sweetest-ever sun-dried tomatoes and a dish called "lamb rice" filled with olives, figs, more of those tomatoes, topped with little lamb chops.

Though I didn't see the bill, I have the feeling Pipa is one of those places where little things quickly add up. Tapas have that way of sneaking up on your pocketbook.

Pipa* 38 E 19th St., New York, NY


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