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Empellón Taqueria

230 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014

An upscale taco and tequila bar that caters to the younger culinary sophisticate crowd. Chef Alex Stupak manages to literally push the boundaries of tacos (in fact, "empellón" means "push" in Spanish) to a degree that showcases the quality of his Mexican-inspired ingredients.
I love that Empellón Taqueria doesn't promise too much. It doesn't pretend to be the most authentic representation of Mexican food in the city - the guacamole even comes loaded with jalapenos that surprisingly balance the creaminess of the avocado and don't overpower it with spice. And it doesn't pretend to use only classically Mexican ingredients - the Brussels sprouts tacos with malted hummus and roasted hazelnuts are actually one of my favorites with their earthy, nutty textures.
Empellón's only promise is to serve incredibly crafted bites in taco-form. Stupak's creations are clearly inspired and informed by Mexican cuisine, but they don't attempt to replicate anything, inevitably avoiding failure.
All the tacos are served on fresh housemade flour tortillas, but the crispy Lamb Barbacoa tacos with cucumber and salsa borracha and the Fish Tempura tacos with cabbage and lime mayonnaise, which were flaky, bready, and creamy all at the same time, are the two biggest hits. The selection of mezcals and tequilas is also extraordinary, promising excellent cocktails and margaritas as well. The simple Mezcal margarita with Fidencio Clasico, fresh lime, and smoked salt is a perfectly rich and smoky addition to the smoked cashew and arbol salsas that come with the guacamole, though the Spicy Cucumber margarita with St. Germain, cucumber puree, and jalapeno tincture may be one of the best I've had. Empellón Taqueria definitely has me sold on its thoughtful and deliberately upgraded Mexican food with a twist.
230 W 4th St
New York, NY 10014
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