Empellón means “to push,” and in this case, Chef Alex Stupak (former pastry chef at Alinea and wd~50) is pushing the limits for authentic Mexican cuisine in New York City. Because lets face it, WHERE can you get it? Although it’s not a Tex-Mex joint, we can now enjoy fantastic tacos, queso fundido, sopes, guacamole, tortillas and beans! The smoked plantains sopes are a sweet treat and the base of the bite has a nice breaded texture almost like a pie. This looks like a great party appetizer and something that would be extremely challenging to make on your own. The Queso Fundido with Chorizo is a homerun in the park. It’s everything you could ask for: cheesy, meaty and spicy all in one pot that you can throw on top of chips or roll up in a tortilla. Heck, you could come here just for this and some margaritas and be pleased. The taco salsas and garnishes are unique and create a vacation in your mouth. The restaurant’s decor is a bit spooky.
The bar’s backdrop is covered in red and black graffiti, roped chandeliers hang in the front windows and a gold statue of Virgin Mary is enclosed in a glass case near the bathroom. Black tables squeeze tightly in the center of the restaurant making it hard to move and preventing any privacy. However, if you are lucky and have friendly neighbors, they might share their wine with you. Come here to split some great, spicy plates and to watch and interact with a crowd looking to have a good time!