One of my favorite places for unique Mexican cuisine is Empellón Taqueria in the West Village. Well, I hadn’t been to their sister restaurant, Empellón Cocina in the East Village until now. And, no surprise, it hit every expectation that I had of their counterpart.
The space of this location is a bit smaller than the Taqueria, but, the flavor is just as big. You’ll also find a unifying theme in the artwork on the walls. To start, I had their Classic Margarita with Mezcal (organic agave nectar, fresh lime, smoked salt). Loved it. It was a little smokey, slightly sweet with a nice citrusy finish.
Then, I ordered Pistachio Guacamole (verde, arbol). This was incredible. The quac is fresh, flavorful, and the pistachios are folded in, adding a unique flavor and great texture to the dip. The salsas on the side are wonderful too, I especially liked the arbol, it has a really great kick to it. The chips are equally as amazing as the guac, they’re thick and rustically broken into large pieces, salty and crunchy.
I then had the Squid (Chilmole, Nugget Potatoes, sour orange mayonnaise). This was visually fascinating and super interesting, and I hadn’t had squid served like this before. The squid was fashioned in thin coils, wrapped around one side of the plate with the chilmole and mayonnaise acting as the painting on the plate canvas. The squid has a bit of a briny taste, but when mixed with the chilmole, it softens the taste. The potatoes are really great when mixed with the sour orange mayonnaise, almost like eating pomme frites with aioli.
Name: Empellón Cocina
Location: 105 First Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the food and drinks here are consistently amazing.
Would I recommend it? Obviously, and, if you haven’t been to the Taqueria location yet, you’ll have two places to add to your list.
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