Since coming back from Mexico City, I have really wanted to go to Empellon Cocina. They opened literally the week after I returned. Located on 1st Avenue between 6/7 and you can’t miss it. The doors open to the street with a large semi-circular bar in the front of the room with bar height tables around. Drinks are flowing and people are having a great time. Highly recommend having one of their cocktails…it sets the tone for the evening.
The menu is creative and certainly pushing the envelope when it comes to Mexican food. I’d say that the menu is Mexican influenced and Alex, the brains behind the menu, has taken full liberty of creating something new and unique. In Mexico City the food was creative but not as intensely flavorful or spicy as it is here.
We began with everything offered for the table. Chicharrones which are basically fried pork rinds. Crispy, tasty and ridiculously good. Served up with a tomatillo-caper salsa.
A chunky guacamole with pistachios. Might have to add pistachios to mine this summer. I really liked these chips. Not too heavy but just heavy enough to hold the guacamole.
We split everything. Mezcal cured ocean trout with dollops of whipped cream cheese, smattering of roe, thin slices of radish and pieces of cilantro. Think crudo Mexican style.
NY restaurants are really into the carrots these days. These were particularly delicious. Roasted carrots standing straight up in a mole poblano yogurt mixture. Yum.
Whigoku shelled plump oysters with a shellfish flan, fava beans and a chilmole sauce. I really liked this. The mixture of crunchy greens with the oysters was a mouthful.
I loved this presentation. A rolling chip with shrimp hanging off of it with slices of jalapenos, an urchin mousse and lettuces. Tasty too.
Pieces of tongue with refried beans inside a crunchy light with refried beans covered a salsa de arbol.
I am a sucker for melted cheese. Melted tetilla cheese with pieces of lobster, tomato frito and kol which is a Yucantan style white sauce.
Tamal Colado. A tamale stuffed with chicken and a thick achiote. This was the one dish I didn’t love. Not that flavorful but classic.
Spaghetti looking like squid with heirloom potatoes, chorizo mayonnaise and a black mole sauce. I really loved this.
Maine diver scallops with pieces of surryano ham, English peas and chilaquiles verdes. The little crunchy pieces of tortillas mixed in was so delicious. Kind of like a mixed stew with Mexican flavors.
Chicken meatballs with a masa polenta and a tinga polenta.
Love a rib. Oaxacan style baby back ribs with pineapple and plantains. Savory and sweet.
Really loved this place. Some of the dishes were really outstanding particularly the fish dishes. The drinks are killer. The kitchen was insanely busy that night as I believe it was their busiest night to date. Impressive watching Alex run the kitchen. Kind of mesmerizing. Not somewhere that I would go to every night but there is no doubt that I will be back!