(212) 780-0999 | Reserve Onlinewww.empellon.com
Mon - Tue: 5:30AM - 10AM
Wed - Thu: 5:30PM - 11:30PM
Sat: 11AM - 3PM
Sun: 5:30AM - 3PM
Chef Alex Stupak's "bold" detour from desserts at WD-50 to "high-minded" Mexicana pays off at these "trendy" destinations; the original West Village outlet "redefines the taco", while the "more upscale" East Village spin-off aces "super-imaginative" small plates – between the "killer" drinks and "fashionable" following, both enjoy crazy "buzz."
Leave your preconceptions of Mexican food at Empellón Cocina's door. Chef Alex Stupak explores the culture in his own distinct way and goes far beyond the usual red-and-green salsa joints. No stranger to experimentation, Stupak made his name as the pastry chef at molecular gastronomy standout WD-50. And his innovative south-of-the-border shift earned semifinalist spots in two categories (Best New Restaurant and Best Chef: NYC) for the 2013 James Beard Awards.
As you settle into a cream-colored banquette in Empellón Cocina's ivory brick-lined dining room, your server will offer to bring you some guacamole, perhaps a variation laced with pistachio or spiked with sea urchin. Note that it isn't a gratis gesture — the generously sized portions cost $12, or more — and might diminish your appetite for appetizers like plump Mayan prawns zipped up with a spicy verde mousse and tortilla crisps. The NYU student with the foodie parents at the next table will likely be splitting the short rib pastrami tacos, while guests at other tables order up the chilaquiles rojos (tortillas topped with duck breast, poached duck egg and beets). The cocktail menu showcases one of the city's largest selections of tequila, and, for an extra dollar, any drink can be punched up with a Serrano tincture.
F to 2nd Ave.; 6 to Astor Place
What to tell a cabbie
Take me to First Ave. between E. 6th St. and E. 7th St.
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