Empellon Cocina
Empellon Cocina

Empellon Cocina

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.empellon.com/cocina
  • Phone: (212) 780-0999
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner:
    Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:30 - 10 :30 PM
    Thurday-Saturday: 5:30 - 11:30 PM
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Alex Stupak
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Contact: Cheryl Goff 2123670999x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 6th and 7th Streets
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Empellon Cocina
There is a fine line between taking a cuisine in a new direction and stripping it of its soul (and Mexican food has some serious soul). This is a belief that we keep in mind when contemplating the cuisine at Empellón Cocina.

Garlic, ginger and scallions taste different coming from a wok then they do from a saute pan. Technique and application define a cuisine just as much as the ingredients. In fact, I would argue more so. And that is the philosophy of our kitchen in the East Village. At Empellón Cocina we are dedicated to the myriad of fundamental techniques and applications that make Mexican cooking taste Mexican. But we are dedicated to using them with our own sensibility. Empellón's approach to cuisine is informed by authenticity but not limited by it.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Empellon Cocina reviews from OpenTable diners
91 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (64)hot spot (38)neighborhood gem (35)vibrant bar scene (30)good for groups (18)special occasion (18)late-night find (12)romantic (11)notable wine list (5)kid-friendly (2)great for lunch (2)great for brunch (2)great for outdoor dining (1)Show More
  • So Bummed!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 11/20/2014
    We ate at the restaurant last year while visiting NYC and we were very excited about returning this month. Last year the food we had was totally amazing. Sad to say we were disappointed this time; the food ( at least what we ordered) was not great. If this had been our first experience, we would not have returned. Service was great and the vibe is really comfortable edgy. Just wish the food still measured up; it didn't for us.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always satisfying!
    PaigeVIP
    Dined on 11/18/2014
    Empellon always delivers, no matter which location you're at. It's always delicious and reliable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun spot
    LschwalVIP
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Went here with a few girlfriends and the food was great to share and really great cocktails. The ambiance is fun and vibrant. Overall, it was just what I was looking for for a girls night--great drinks, fun environment, and great food to share. The crackers that come with the guac is so addicting and as I learned, every time you finish them they'll bring you more! Get the carnitas they were delicious as was the noodles appetizer dish!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great re-imagined Mexican
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    Take the very best of traditional Mexican, ramp up the ingredient quality, and put classic ideas alongside new creations and this is what you get. Doesn't lose the casual feel of Mexican street food, but adds new dimensions with innovative recipes. It's great...I always eat too much here!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delish!!!
    KmagVIP
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    This place is amazing - been 3 times now and each time has been fabulous! Love the salsas, pistachio guac, all the tacos and the carnitas are to die for. Drinks are super yummy too!!! Love it!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • some hits, some misses
    Rosso
    Dined on 11/7/2014
    Decent attempt at 'creative Mexican'. But some hits, some misses. Guac was way over-acidulated for our tastes, tho did enjoy the pistachios. The accompanying masa chips were an interesting twist, but they are too delicate in texture for the guac and kept crumbling like the walls of Jericho. Tacos, chorizo stuffed chicken were good, not great. A cherry concoction for dessert was fabulous and unusual. BTW, I always appreciate a restaurant that has some half bottles of wine as an option as they have here, but no full bottles of wine; ONLY demis? A little weird, no? Good service, friendly staff, hip vibe.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • One of the best mexican in the city
    Anna
    Dined on 11/5/2014
    The service is just ok, is really the only thing that is average at Empellon cocina, having said that its not bad! the food is amazing! Tried lamb tartare, mango, masa chips with 7 salsas, corn tacos, chorizo stuffed chicken, tetilla cheese with lobster, passion fruit tart...everything was outstanding! and of course great margaritas both the classic and the mezcal one!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Young Mexican twist
    JJJJ
    Dined on 10/31/2014
    We wanted good Mexican but not the same 'ol same 'ol...Empellon Cocina certainly fit the bill. The menu seemed very inventive and was a nice twist. However, I do wish the salsa sides were a bit more generous and if someone didn't like pistachio, they could order the guacamole without. The lobster entree was very tasty but super rich...which the waitress did mention. And next time I'd like to try a few other items...hopefully on the lighter side. Also, part of the vibe came from good energy bit the average age in the restaurant was high 20's, early 30's. Though we were older by over a decade...fit right in.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overhyped
    dmd26
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The food was phenomenal. The service was fairly atrocious. We had a late night reservation and still had to wait for a table (1/2 hour wait). Bartender was disinterested... it took a while to get service (in her defense, the bar was moderately busy). Our waitresses forgot to tell us about the specials until after we ordered; forgot that we ordered appetizers; poured water for only two of the four seated at the table and was generally just unimpressive at her job.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ksquared
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    Service was really in attentive, we sat for a long time without drinks being refilled, without asking if we wanted to order, or if we wanted appetizers. I don't understand serving guacamole with crisps, the crisps just break. The food was several dollars overpriced for what it was, for example the snapper was $27 but not a worth a $27 plate. We also felt that the plate prices for the carnitas and lamb belly were overpriced for their presentation, portion, taste, and experience. Other tables seemed to be pleased with what they were eating and service, but everything seemed unpolished to us. I unfortunately don't understand what the stellar reviews are experiencing that we are not, this was our second time at the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not as good as the Empellon in WV
    cityslickerVIP
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Good spot but the food, service, ambiance and really everything is better at the West Village location.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food, high noise
    Nebraska
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    At 8 p.m., the bar was SRO, the noise level conversation-impeding. Bartender was one of the friendliest and most solicitous around; good, because we didn't get seated until about fifteen minutes after our reservation. Service was a little slow, but food was terrific; carnitas and brussels-sprouts tacos especially to be recommended. Waiter gave excellent advice. Wine selection limited but adequate; this is mostly a margarita-drinking crowd. Once the crowd eased around 9:30, conversation again became possible. I'd certainly come back for the food and the excellent staff, but I might want helicopter-style headsets to converse early in the evening, unless all concerned have a decent command of ASL.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • another terrific experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    We've dined here several times in the past, when we are in NYC for the Wine Experience. This time our meal (Chef's Tasting Menu) was better than ever before, no mean feat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • stacedilla
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    I LOVE me some mex...so where else would I got for my bday dinner but empellon cocina. The only thing we ordered were drinks, the chips with 9 salsas/guac, and 3 different tacos. (9 total for 3 people). The drinks came way after the chips. The drinks came and the tacos arrived immediately after. The timing really ruined the whole thing for me. Also, with 9 different salsas they should really be replenishing the chips more.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing
    tomatim
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Great service, great food, great drinks. Empellon Cocina can do no wrong.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Deserts
    Joalf
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Food was great. Interesting with "fine dine Mexican". Difficult to know how much food you would get though. Tapas were small and some entrees were huge. Deserts were worth a trip. Awesome.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious dinner
    mzhungry
    Dined on 10/2/2014
    Went with a female friend and service was great, food was delicious. As in really delicious - the tomato salad starter was simply fantastic: tomatoes that had been skinned and lightly poached on a tomato veloute with whipped goat cheese. Only weak points were the cocktails - surprisingly - and the noise level which was just a tad too much for my middle-aged ears. Cocktails were just a trifle too complicated and they didn't fully cohere, I'd suggest adding some straight classics to the list as backups - beer and wine list was fine, if small.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    The food was excellent. There was some imaginative takes on standards (e.g., the crispy beans? nuts? in the marvelous guacamole). Too bad it could only be enjoyed in its typically raucous downtown setting.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Awesome
    John
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    Went here with 4 of my friends. The atmosphere was great and we were greeted by a very friendly staff. I would highly recommend their seven salsa sample along with the pistachio guacamole. In addition to the good, the drink variety is great. I was able to try drinks that had unique tastes to them. All were great
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • 1Chance
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Empellon Cocina is an excellent dinning choice. The manager and staff were extremly courteous and accomodating. We were seated at the perfect tabel for 4.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Empellon stunning
    jptulsaVIP
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    What a treat to enjoy traditional Mexican flavors in such unexpected combinations. This was my second visit to Empoellon and I found it every bit as remarkable as my first.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Needs to be more consistent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013VIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    I've been to Empellon 3-4 times and had excellent food/service each time, but something wasn't right this time. The wrong food items were delivered to our table, which were supposed to go to the table next to us, and that was happening all over the restaurant from what I could tell. We repeatedly saw tables tell the food runner "this isn't ours." The food also took verrrry long to come out to our table, and the guys running the food were clueless about what they were serving. We asked about the wrong item that came to our table and were told "I don't know what this is." I felt the food was on the salty side as well. Like I said, this has been one of my favorite restaurants to date, but they were really off their game on Saturday night.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Evening
    Ilikefood
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    Came in from out of town with 4 friends, we had a reservation and unfortunately showed up late. Although I did keep an open line of communication with the restaurant to let them know, and they didn't have a problem at all accommodating us even though we were late. Extremely friendly greeting upon arrival, superb service and delicious food; not to mention beautifully presented. Look forward to going back on my next trip.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ChinVIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    Carrot dish was amazing!! The vegetarian tacos were quite lackluster. Hoping that the same amount of energy that went into creating the carrot mole dish would have gone into the tacos. All in all still a great place
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Eats!
    Carnivore3189
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We wnt here for our anniversary and had one of hte most memorable meals of our life. The one negative point in the evening was when we had to refuse dessert becuase we were so full of our delicious dinner and dynamic drinks!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Had a weeknight dinner with friends at this lovely place during restaurant week. Very busy bar at an obviously favorite neighborhood hangout. The entire table had the restaurant week menu which started with pistachio guacamole for all (very tasty with a small kick), appetizers included 2 veggie options, shrimp, and lamb tartare which were all excellent. Tacos were creative - 2 veggie options again, the beef was nicely crispy, the smelts had a powerful spicy sauce - all were very good. Really enjoyed our dishes. Would recommend it to others and will come again if ever find myself in the area (east side near st. marks.)
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • S.W.Parker
    SWParkerVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    7 amazing salsas, paper thin masa chips & incredibly delicious elegant tacos. You must try this place. The service is impeccable .
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious...
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    We always enjoy the food and service at Empellon and this visit did not disappoint. When we had to leave unexpectedly, the service staff worked together to make sure we could leave as soon as possible. The food was just as delicious when we got home. Fantastic experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just okay
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    I went in with high hopes. Pistachio guac was great. The cashew salsa was really runny and no texture. I had the chicken tacos which were bland and dry. Needed some citrus to add some complexity. I've had better Mexican food for less money. Stop in for a drink and the guac and then go somewhere else to eat.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful new take on mexican
    bjoad
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Mexican like you've never had before -- creative and delicious -- and healthy. Guac was tasty and creamy, and addition of pistchios added great crunch (very thin cracker-like chip was nice for the waistline). Cheese and corn taco-spectacular; chicken chorizo taco also great. And get the black bean appetizer. Prices very reasonable -- what you'd expect from East Village.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 61 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 399 reviews are from the Empellon Cocina reviews archive.
  • Terrible
    JayCoVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    The food was awful. The service was non-existent. The only good thing was the margaritas.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Awesome!
    DJPoolNoodle
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    This restaurant was fantastic - I can't wait to go back! It was a little loud in there - towards the middle of our meal (after the restaurant had filled up) we were speaking very loudly to each other at our table...but other than that - this was a perfect night out!! Drinks and food were both delicious (go for the head cheese tacos!!!!)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Love this restaurant food was outstanding, cocktails brilliant and the staff was incredibly friendly and were able to explain the menu down to every detail. Def will be back again and again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    Everything is interesting and delicious :mango salad, squid, clam starters; beef and smelt tacos; lobster tortilla; guacamole, desserts, all superb. Very loud.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Impressed!!
    Qlight
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Everything about this place is WONDERFUL! The contemporary Mexican flavors were perfectly aligned. The guacamole is fantastic and the smoked cashew salsa is truly remarkable! Carrots with mole was absolutely delicious, as was the coffee crema with the Beef Milanease (and the Mashed Pea taco is not to missed either). The chocolate flan was RIDICULOUSLY good - wish we had room to experience the whole dessert tasting. Despite the experiences of certain previous diners, the service was EXCEPTIONAL: everyone was always on top of EVERYTHING, and at one point, a person at the table next to me went to restroom. One of the waitstaff noticed their napkin had fallen on the floor - in less than 1 minute, the napkin was picked up and replaced. Divine!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nouvelle Cocina
    writer100VIP
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Lots of experimentation here with Mexican "standards" that often come with a different look as well as as taste. Mostly, this works very well. But sometimes the menu listing can fool you. As with Chile Quiles, which is usually a dish of leftovers--layers of tortillas and beans and salsa and fragments of chicken and/or meat, simmered and served in a pot. I don't exactly know how to describe the version served here, but certainly wasn't any variation on any cq I've had before. But the gorditas were splendid, and so were the margaritas. Really noisy, and the techno bear that occasionally penetrates the din doesn't help/If this sounds a tad negative, I intend to return, so clearly the total experience was pretty good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Meh
    TrueNewNewYorkerVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    I got to Empellon Cocina long after the hype died down. I've enjoyed the Tacqueria many times, but this was a let down. Odd combinations seemed to be made out of a stoner's mind or just for the sake of being interesting. Nothing was exceptional.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Ask the chef!
    carolVIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    My friends and I loved the restaurant. On a recent visit, uncertain what to order, we asked for the chef. His recommendations from appetizers to mains were amazing. It remains my favorite NYC restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • PointhoarderVIP
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Enjoyed the guacamole with the selection of salsas but didn't think the hottest one had that more heat. Liked the chicken wing, peas and asparagus tacos.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dessert Tasting Menu Do It
    MarklockVIP
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    Chef Stupak did a guest chef dinner in my home of Dallas earlier in the week that was incredibly good, so I decided to check out Empellon Cocina later in the week when I was in the NY area. So glad I did. Be sure to get the guacamole with hydrated pistachios (I ordered the 7 salsas too). Tacos were great, and the big finish... A 5 course tasting menu of desserts. Each was just perfect for sharing and is something you won't regret doing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.