We really loved our meals at Pippali, which had the best reviews on popular rating sites among the many Indian restaurants in Curry Hill (Lexington Avenue between 26th and 29th Streets). We visited at lunch time on three separate occasions, and enjoyed Pippali’s reasonably priced and filling thalis (choice of two vegetarian, three chicken, three lamb, and two seafood entrée options). The thalis come with an appetizer, vegetable of the day, dal, raitha, pickle, naan, basmati rice, salad, a papadam, and dessert–it’s quite filling and everything is tasty. Pippali also offers biryani and tandoori specials.
No surprise then that Pippali draws a sizable crowd at lunch. During our first visit, the space was easily more than half full and many tables turned over during our stay. As with many places, the background music was a little louder than it needed to be. Since the music featured traditional Indian music, it tended to favor high-pitched sounds which some people may find uncomfortable. That said, most of the sound was from customer chatter, as the place was filled with pairs or groups of work colleagues. Given how busy it was–and there was a lot of conversation going on at almost every table–we were surprisingly comfortable. We suspect that the padded banquettes and chairs may have helped (or perhaps we were distracted by the wonderful food?).
Our second visit on a slower Monday yielded a 72.3 decibel rating, which was perfectly fine. Again the music was a bit louder than we would have liked, but it was more noticeable at first as the dining room was not very crowded. As more customers came in, the music became less obvious. The food was as lovely as always, and service was attentive.
We recorded a reading of 72.4 decibels on our third visit. Because our visit was on an observed federal holiday, there were fewer tables of coworkers dining with us. Indian music was playing a bit too loudly when we first stepped in, but shortly after we were seated the volume was lowered and mellow bossa nova played for the rest of our visit. Once the music was properly in the background the space was perfect. Conversation was easy, there were no distractions, and the meal, as usual, was wonderful.
If high-pitched music is your personal nemesis, you may want to consider whether you should visit Pippali. If not, we would highly recommend a visit, as the noise level was very manageable and the food was excellent. And given that the restaurant was busy during our first visit and most customers were engaged in animated conversation, we think that it’s a safe bet that the noise level at dinner would be similar or, at most, just a few decibels higher. Go!
Sunday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. | 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
(betw. Park and Lexington Avenues), New York, NY 11016