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Empellón

510 Madison Ave. (E. 53rd St.) Send to Phone
Alex Stupak’s version of Mexican cuisine shines in midtown.

Cuisine
Open
Lunch & Dinner daily
Features
  • Dress code: Casual
  • Full bar
  • Reservations suggested

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Empellón, New York, NY

Empellón Restaurant Review

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About the restaurant and décor: Alex Stupak took the Mexican restaurant world by storm when he opened Empellón Taqueria in the West Village, and Empellón Cocina (now closed) and the casual Empellón al Pastor in the East Village, with a very modern yet traditionally oriented take on tacos and home-cooked favorites. With Empellón in midtown, Stupak elevates Mexican cooking, adding creative touches and presentations that create an urban fine dining experience. The two-story restaurant brings diners near the open kitchen on the first floor in a space dotted with sculptures by Biata Roytburd and offers a bird’s-eye look from the balcony area above.

Likes: Desserts aren’t usually a Mexican specialty. But here they’re pure wow.
Dislikes: None.

About the food and drinks: Tacos, the mainstay at the downtown Empellóns, arrive in midtown with falafel with ground grasshoppers or hash browns with tomatillo ketchup, for example. Seafood appears in crab nachos drizzled with sea urchin, or smoked black cod. Meat lovers will relish the short rib confit or pork belly with chicharron. The drinks menu is designed to complement the heat or spice of the dishes and tequila and mezcal are featured, brought tableside on a rolling cart. A small wine list spans the globe from Europe to the Americas. At this new Empellón, ordering dessert is as important as ordering a savory dish. Stupak’s previous stints as pastry chef at wd-50 and Alinea show up with creations that feel like Harry Potter magic. The avocado dessert is actually not an avocado but an avocado lookalike made from ice crystals, and yogurt infused with eucalyptus. An ice cream taco laced with corn is an inspired ending. Strawberries served seven ways come as a platter of small bites as elegant as a Jackson Pollock painting, including a marshmallow coated with dried strawberries and a ruby-red piece of fruit filled with yuzu jelly.
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