Pipa: Asian tapas + sake bar

There is a new addition to the dining scene in Salt Lake, and it is one that you need to experience soon.
Shaken steak cubes
Just when I think I can't squeeze another restaurant into my favorites list, a very unique new offering opens that gives me an even bigger challenge choosing what to eat. Pipa: Asian tapas + sake bar has been open for just over two months now, and you need to experience it soon. The dining room is beautiful, hip, and exciting. You step out of the modest strip mall in Rose Park, and into a hot, classy, Las Vegas lounge dimly lit with attractive lighting and lined with comfortable seating. In the menu you see a unique list of small plates, creative cocktails, and this is where the real excitement begins.

There is a wide, but not intimidating, selection of small plates with a blend of Asian influences. Most dishes are around $5. Immediately, I was drawn to the Gogi Tacos, a Korean influenced BBQ pulled meat dish served on small tortillas. The pork Gogi Tacos are rich, tender, and incredibly delicious and only $4.95 for three (also available on a bun, as a slider). Their Shaken Steak Cubes were a generous serving of tender beef grilled with onions and perfectly seasoned ($6.75). An order of Fried Calamari ($5.95) is a must, it's tossed with garlic, and served with tempura fried onions and peppers. On the last visit, I also had to try the Crab Artichoke Dip, which is served with fried wonton triangles, and it was one of the best I have ever had.
Sake Creations
The cocktails menu contains over 20 sake creations, many based on traditional cocktails with the main ingredients replaced by sake. From the crisp and cool Cucumber Cooler, to the extra sour Lemon Drop, each of their sake cocktails are incredible. The drink menu includes Plum Sake Cosmo, Bloody Sake, Mango Mojito, Lychee Fizz, and many more. Owner David Tran created every recipe for these drinks that you just will not find anywhere else.

Overall, your visit will be comfortable, delicious, and very affordable for the fine dining that you experience here. Pipa is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner (11:30am-10pm), and they stay open until at least 11pm Friday and Saturday.

Pipa: Asian tapas + sake bar
118 North 900 West in Salt Lake City

Read more from Nick Johnson at Salt Lake City's examiner.com.