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105 First Ave
New York, NY 10003
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$31 to $50
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Empellon Cocina Details
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:30 - 10 :30 PM
Thurday-Saturday: 5:30 - 11:30 PM
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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 (212) 367-0999
6th and 7th Streets
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.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
Diners' Choice Winner
We started out with some amazing
margaritas (pineapple-cilantro and grapefruit) we went on to an awesomely unusual roasted pistachio nut guacamole with home made chips (I can't really say they were chips, but I have no other word to describe them) all accompanied by seven different flavors of salsas. It was at this point that it became obvious that this was not your run of the mill tortilla-fillery. The food is as special as is the variety of flavors therein. This is the first time I ever considered the existence of any relationship between a kosher deli and a Mexican foodery... I actually ate pastrami tortillas with a mustard salsa. All I have to say is that this place is fantastic. Loved it all."
Dined on 3/7/2014
The bar is crowded and they don't
seat the party until everyone is there. I much rather wait at my table unless I'm very early or my party is going to be late. The waiters were serving a tasting of taquilla and we had to ask for ours. The food was good and they had gluten free options."
Dined on 3/7/2014
Went here for Restaurant Week
dinner. I had the chilled shrimp appetizer (excellent), the ceviche tacos (fair; really sour), and the arroz con leche (excellent). Service was friendly and attentive. The place was nice."
Dined on 3/5/2014
Unfortunately, the experience we
had at Empellon Cocina was very disappointing. Although the food was acceptable (not extraordinary), it was extremely overpriced for what you received and in particular, the size of the portions. We went during Restaurant Week and for a grand price of $38 per person, we each received a tiny appetizer, 2 tiny tacos (each the size of the palm of my hand) and a tiny dessert (both which would have fit comfortably with room to spare of one plate instead of the 2 plates they were on). We literally had to go eat somewhere else after because we were still hungry."
Dined on 2/20/2014
We had a wonderful pre-theater
experience at Empellon. Everyone in our party of four ordered a la carte. Among our favorite appetizers were carrots prepared with mole pablano and black bean jalapeno hummus, Main course highlights included carnitas (pork) and pastrami and short rib tacos, the latter garnished with tangy mustard. Muy saboroso!"
Dined on 2/21/2014
Amazing taste treats done in a
style of Mexican cuisine but with a spin. The drink menu is well thought out with great pairings of flavor. Guacamole made with pistachio is refreshing & different. Main courses are concise parings that are reasonably priced. Desserts shine since Alex Stupak was the pastry chef at Alinea. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone for just a nice evening out or to out of town guests."
Dined on 2/20/2014
A lovely evening of tastebud
temptation and experimentation. Fab cocktails, buzzy venue especially later on when the cool crowd turned up."
Dined on 2/1/2014
Amazing. Loved tha guac w asserted
salsas and the fish tacos were ncredible. Ditto the pineapple marguerita"
Dined on 1/24/2014
Our reservation was on a Tuesday
night. It was 12 degrees outside, which kept most diners at home. Empty tables throughout the dining room should have meant faster service, but it took nearly 20 minutes for our appetizers to come out: sweetbreads, which were not trimmed and not cooked right and lamb tartar, which was oversalted. The guac they served was very good, though. Then we ordered tacos. They came out quickly but their size did not make them worth $16. You can get two gigantic burritos at Chipotle for that price -- and they'd taste better. Finally, it took about another 20 minutes for a shareable pasta dish to come out. The pasta was pretty good. We decided to walk a few blocks in the freezing cold for dessert."
Dined on 1/28/2014
Creative, fun, and absolutely
delicious food in a casual, friendly environment. Not one dish was mediocre or very good. All dishes and desserts were sophisticated to just the right level & true gems!!!! Each one was brilliant in its own way! A new favorite in NYC. Service was perfect. Highly recommended dishes: -Squid with chilmole, nugget potatoes, sour orange mayo -Chilled shrimp with sea urchin mousse, lettuces, masa waves -Roasted Carrots with mole poblano, yogurt, watercress -Cavayelli with tinga poblana, queso fresco"
Dined on 1/24/2014
Food was overall very good. Black
beans with cheese) was not too heavy, squid had plenty of flavor, and the carrots were delicious. All of the dishes were very nicely presented (as expected from a former pastry chef). The only disappointing dish was the carnitas tacos, which were a bit dry and fairly bland, especially compared to the other dishes. Ordered 4 different cocktails, which were all unique, and most of them quite good. They were all tequila based, and ranged from fairly strong with a bit of citrus flavor to light and fruity. Service was very good. Generally prompt, and an issue with the A/C was immediately addressed. My only complaint would be that the meal was expensive, especially given the small portions."
Dined on 1/22/2014
We had a great time here, two sets
of couples catching up over margaritas and taco's. Drinks were good, some of the apps (the clam ceviche in particular) were great, and the standby of the guac + 7 salsas was fun. Taco's were hefty and filling, and overall very good. Would come again."
Dined on 1/11/2014
Not too sure about the décor but
the food is well conceived and prepared. The music is rather loud but the service is good. I have noticed that some restaurants do not space people out when there not full. Empellon certainly did that which made our dining experience more enjoyable and we did not have to eavesdrop on other conversations. Overall a strong recommendation."
Dined on 1/7/2014
this is not your typical Mexican
joint. it's gourmet Mexican with interesting items such as a brussell sprouts taco - very delish! the guacamole has a sprinkling of pistachios which is also very yummy. we got the appetizer guacamole that comes with the salsa samplers - several samplings of salsas ranging from mild to super spicy. all were very tasty. the melted cheese dip with lobster was also amazing. we had the shrimp, brussell sprouts, and pastrami tacos - really unusual flavors and simply divine! the drinks were also unique and wonderful. the place has a cool vibe and the staff is friendly. give it a try!"
Dined on 12/27/2013
We started with the pistachio
guacamole and 7 salsas on the servers recommendation and were not disappointed. This was followed by an appetizer to share and then tacos. Everything was simple, fresh and tasty. The server was extremely knowledgeable and her recommendations were spot on. The drinks were also tasty. The atmosphere is lively but the restaurant is small enough to still have an intimate feel. I would definitely recommend this place for a date or group."
Dined on 12/27/2013
Great ambiance, eclectic music and
really creative and delicious menu."
Dined on 12/28/2013
The food is genius, the perfect
dinner and for those that want to taste good tequila, this is the place to be. Empellon Cocina is not just about the amazing food, but also the great service"
Dined on 12/27/2013
the hostess was the gem of the
restaurant. Vwery warm greeting and paid attention to every detail. I t is wqay too noisy to enjoy a meal. tables are too close and the room is too dark What we had was good but not knock your socks off"
Dined on 12/27/2013
They were out of 3 of the menu
items in an already small menu. The "pasta" dish we shared was undercooked spaghetti that tasted more like pretzel sticks. The tacos were extreme dry, and the shrimp particularly in attractively presented. That said, service was quite accommodating."
Dined on 12/13/2013
The flight of salsas is not to be
missed. The tacos are each unique and delicious. The drinks, however, promise the same level of culinary experience but do not match. Tequila drinks too weak and kind of watery..could it be the huge ice cubes? I'll be back for sure…..to find out."
Dined on 12/13/2013
One of the best waiters I've ever
had in my life was at EC. Service was perfect. The cocktails were amazing. The food was memorable and very unique. I love this restaurant. The East Village dining scene has come a long way since they opened. It's great to find a place so comfortable and ambitious at the same time. The chef, staff and team deserve all the accolades that have received. I cannot wait to return to try more new dishes. I wish all chef owners had the attention to detail that EC has --there is a lot to learn and they have owned up to it. Congrats, again."
Dined on 6/16/2013
i think that most people come here
for the drinks...waiter seemed unnerved that our party was not there for the alcohol. some good dishes and very fine taco interpretations, but steer clear of the LOBSTER FUNDIDO..touted on billboard outside the restaurant. just a glob of melty cheese with 4 measly 1 inch slivers of lobster for $19. definitely over priced. rice dessert very good."
Dined on 12/6/2013
It was our 4th or 5th time there
and it just gets better and better from the service to the delicious food. Shout out to Page and Rose but everyone was excellent."
Dined on 11/30/2013
It was a very nice dinner-thank
you empellon Try the grapefuit marg! A plus :)"
Dined on 11/30/2013
Be prepared for small plates, like
tapas, no real entrees. The tacos are just that, no sides and you order how many you want. The restaurant was nice, quiet and we sat in back where we could watch the chefs - which was very cool (they're behind glass so you don't hear all the kitchen noise). Pistachio guacamole was good but a bit too salt. Salsas were delicious, get a few. The heirloom black beans were to die for (but small so maybe 2 people could share). The cavetelli was good and if you want a reasonable sized portion, it could be a main course. The carnitas tacos were good but flavor wise, definitely not the highlight of the meal. I suggest ordering salsa and nibbling then moving on a sharing multiple plates of non-taco options."
Dined on 11/23/2013
The food is amazing. You have to
try the different salsas and the home made guacamole together with the masa crisps. I would recommend ordering different dishes for the table to share. So many good flavors! In addition to the salsa, guacamole and the masa crisps, we had the Rock Shrimp and Carnitas taco. The Rock Shrimp just rocked my world!"
Dined on 11/16/2013
Get a fundido and the wagyu
collete tacos. The service was great. The drinks are fantastic also."
Dined on 11/19/2013
The first time I had dinner at
Empellon Cocina, it was on a recommendation of my chef at the time. My guest and I were both pleasantly surprised with explosiveyet controlled flavors. On a second visit a year later, the plating seemed more sophisticated visually, but almost every dish fell flat with flavor. Service was attentive and friendly, nothing lacking there. We were pleasantly surprised by the brussel sprout tacos. But the mushroom and carrot starters could have just used some salt and pepper at least. It was a good meal, but not the amazing meal I raved about after my last visit."
Dined on 11/12/2013
I dined at Empellon Cochina this
weekend with 3 work friends. We are a diverse group with high expectations for a restaurant. Empellon exceeded them. The salsas are amazing; the menu is fit for foodies and the atmosphere divine. We had a great waiter who was present without being intrusive. I can't wait to go back."
Dined on 11/15/2013
Everything was amazing, but it
went beyond. The food preparation did not disappoint it was delicious, beautiful and inventive. Strongly suggest the Hamachi Ceviche, be wowed!!! Going out with high expectations for an ex-food industry worker of 14 years, 5 of which were high end and in a kitchen..can be challenging. Empellon Cocina deserves its Beard award and I am sure the many to come."
Dined on 11/12/2013
This place is great for a group of
friends, the food and drinks are unique and excellent. We started with the masa crips with the Pistachio and Traditional guacamole, I love the Pistachio guarcamole. The masa crips are really fun and excellent, it's a great alternative to the traditional chips. The Scotch egg was cooked perfectly, it was a soft boiled egg that was covered with chirzo then deep fried and the runny egg yolk was delicious. I also tried the scallop taco with califlower, a beef belly taco and the shortrib pastrami taco. They were all really good, the beef belly was my favor. I highly recommend this place for great food and a fun experience."
Dined on 11/5/2013
Although can you really just
discover a restaurant that's made this many top-ten lists? Regardless, one of the most playful, inventive, and flat-out delicious meals I've had in ages. An instant favorite restaurant. And the pistachio guacamole is a signature dish that I will never forget (and will surely try to duplicate)."
Dined on 10/18/2013
really good food and service.
Waiters and food runner were both knowledgeable. We decided to have a drink at the bar first, which did take a while, probably because the cocktail list was a bit extensive (not a bad thing though)"
Dined on 10/26/2013
Empellon Cocina is where I go when
I have a group to entertain and I want a dinner that's fun. The food is modern Mexican not like any other Mexican I've had. The food is delicious! From the Guacamole served with up to 10 different salsas, to the brisket tacos and some elegant entrees this place has great food and cocktails .The decor is Mexican kitsch. Servers are young, hip, friendly but not intrusive and they are on the case I highly recommend Empellon Cocina."
Dined on 10/24/2013
Food was amazing. Service was
good. Staff was fantastic. I'll be coming back!"
Dined on 10/5/2013
I went here to celebrate my gf
promotion. My client recommended we go here and he was right. We had the ceviche ,bacon guacamole, lobster fundido, short rib pastrami tacos, spicy cucumber cocktail and a chocolate ice cream dark chocolate cookie desert. Our waitress was great, the food came pretty quickly, and everything was delicious with multiple layers of flavor. Chew slowly and enjoy every moment!! Traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist is best I can describe. It was a lot like toloache which we also love in that the quality was high and unique. How ever empellon will get our next visit next time we are looking for a Mexican. Kick. Also the neighborhood is pretty funky, have dinner and then just walk around and enjoy ."
Dined on 10/19/2013
Most of us in the States do not
get to experience the true sophistication and complexity of Mexican food unless we can travel to Mexico City. Empellon does a wonderful job of transporting us to another country. The salsa sampling is a must. And their tequila list is wide and deep, and hopefully will convince Americans to enjoy tequila as Mexicans do -- not slamming a shot but sipping it straight up along with a "back" of sangrita -- a tomato and orange-based juice that is unique to every restaurant."
Dined on 10/16/2013
The best thing we ordered was the
rock shrimp/corn appetizer. The short rib pastrami tacos were good too, but definitely tasted more like deli than trendy mexican food. Of the 7 salsas, I only liked 2. The jalapeno guacamole was nothing special. The octopus appetizer was ehh. And the hamachi ceviche was just weird. My drink was good too- had the spicy cucumber margarita. Not bad overall, but probably won't be back."
Dined on 10/13/2013
Food is exceptional at
both...BUT...Cocina has a low ceiling and seems cramped because of it. The space at Taqueria is more inviting and the food just as good. A little disappointed that the desserts at the two are so similar...or were the night we were there."
Dined on 10/10/2013
First of all - unbelievably loud!
You have to yell to the person across the table from you in order to be heard, thus adding to the noise level. It took a long time to get cocktails (tasty!), the servers weren't very helpful with the menu, and seemed semi-disinterested. The food was ok, but nothing to rave about. Plus, only two dessert options from a pastry chef/owner??? We wouldn't go back, and we wouldn't recommend it. Finally, we went on a recommendation from Food & Wine magazine. We feel the hype from the magazine was far greater than what was actually delivered by the restaurant."
Dined on 9/29/2013
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