Empellon Cocina
Empellon Cocina

Empellon Cocina

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.empellon.com/cocina
  • Phone: 2127800999x
  • 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
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Empellon Cocina reviews from OpenTable diners
74 reviews since May 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.4
    Service4
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelEnergetic
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (55)neighborhood gem (31)hot spot (29)vibrant bar scene (21)special occasion (17)romantic (13)good for groups (13)late-night find (10)great for brunch (3)great for lunch (3)notable wine list (2)kid-friendly (2)Show More
  • 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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    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
  • 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
    SWParker
    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
  • 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.
  • salsa tasting was interesting
    hamburgerloore
    Dined on 6/3/2014
    a very hip and well appointed spot, suited for a date or a dinner out with friends, food all interesting even when trying a bit too hard. The salsa tasting drew from different schools of flavor (ranging from smokey to hot to savory to sweet) and the tacos were rich and fancier than the average upscale Mexican restaurant. Cocktails were interesting as well…even if a step below a true mixologists haven. The prices are a bit high for the area, but you do get quality for what you pay…chocolate flan was both well done and looked great too...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great experience
    andmig
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    This is my second time here in a year. Restaurant is run with great integrity. Employees are knowledgeable, quick, and highly aware of the customer experience flow. Food. I'd describe the taste theme as restrained. Subtleness is my preference. Our party of 4 ordered 10 dishes. Guacamole w/7 Salsas is a star; chips are outstanding. Even the second time around Lamb Tartar felt like a refreshing novelty. Whimsical Squid was another favorite. The least impressive was Sliced Mango - it lacked flavor on both fruit and crab sides. Drinks. Loved Spicy Cucumber, Pineapple Cilantro, and Voyeur cocktails. Lemongrass Collin felt bland. Desert. Ordered 4 dishes available. My favorite was Gooseberry. Sweetness is perfectly balanced in all platters.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 50 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.5
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 386 reviews are from the Empellon Cocina reviews archive.
  • Good service and food - I was sold!
    Gita
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    We walked in and the host took us towards the back of the dining hall. I requested a table near the front windows and he was more than happy to accommodate us. Our table server was friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. And his food and drink suggestions were perfect! The masa chips and chipotle-cashew salsa were a great start. The lamb tartare was nicely seasoned and presented. The tacos could have had a little more filling, but again, great flavors. The mashed spring pea taco was fabulous! The beef milanese was good too, but the former really had some nice depth of flavors to it. I would go back to this place for sure. Oh yes, the chipotle margarita did not let me down!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was inventive, service lacked
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    The menu at this Mexican restaurant focused on seasonal and inventive takes on traditional Mexican cuisine. The lobster and cheese appetizer was fantastic as was the spring pea tacos! What lacked was the service, overall it seemed, and felt like a restaurant and staff that stopped caring. The host seemed tired and unfriendly, and the servers failed to make eye contact and connection. All was good minus the strange service. I don't think that we would go back again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice, but died out in the evening
    OBNY
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    My friend raved about the squid there, so Id ecided to check it out. The food was good, i could not really fault it, but also on the pricy side. We had dinner late and services was very slow (but friendly) Place emptied later in the evening
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Worse meal ever. Food had no taste and portions were super small. An appetizer tends to be bigger.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not really Mexican food
    AlonsoVIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    Food here is ok, but not really authentic Mexican. For example Guacamole only comes with Pistachio, and not other choice.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Artful + Soulful Mexican
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    The ambience and service is modern and sophisticated without being precious or pretentious. The food is truly transcendent, in taste and visuality. We tried the pistachio guacamole, blue foot mushrooms, mango with peekytoe crab, and 2 sets of tacos - spring pea and carnitas. All dishes were beyond expectations - beautiful, flavorful, well balanced. I likely will go back, again and again. Oh, the drinks! We tried the classic margarita and pineapple cilantro margarita. Both were exceptional - well balanced and far too easy to drink.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Original & Good Food
    PadreVIP
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    The guac with the pistachios was very tasty, the carnitas tacos were excellent. Way too loud, makes returning less likely.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding
    TuumamoVIP
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    They offer an inovative take on Mexican cuisine. Unusual ingredients and combinations make this a unique experience.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • goodeats
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    this was an epic culinary experience from the mango & peekytoe crab appetizer to the pistachio gaucamole to the various tacos and finally the desserts. delicious food & great atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, special occasion, Late-Night Find, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • BonnieVIP
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Wonderful food: guacamole with 7 salsas, tacos (Brussels sprouts and short rib) and margaritas. What could be better! You won't leave hungry, but you will leave happy.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • flo
    flo1
    Dined on 4/24/2014
    lovely service, wine, dishes, a win win all around and a great digestif selection
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Bearchef47
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    My wife liked her starter squid, but her main course fish was tasteless.The tilefish ceviche, and the carrots were excellent. Our guests were unimpressed: The shaved mango was too voluminous; The peekytoe crab miniscule. The combinations were too Dufresny and jarring for them. The price was too high for what they got. My sweetbreads were ridiculous. There's no reason to pair delicate sweetbreads with intensely flavored beans: the beans completely overpower the sweetbreads--just use nixtamalized popcorn or some other volume builder and be done with it. My pastrami shortribs were interesting.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • lovely food but way too noisy
    dmlpartners
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    Lovely food but so noisy we could barely hear each other at the small table. So sorry, won't be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • As good as advertised
    Nycdiner
    Dined on 4/18/2014
    Great meal that lived up to all the great articles about Empellon.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Birthday celebrations
    trillian
    Dined on 4/15/2014
    I booked this restaurant for my husbands birthday while we were on holidays in New York. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the fab food. Would highly recommend to anyone.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • NEVER AGAIN
    andie
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Unbearably loud. Not an improvement on Mexican food in any way. Truly hated it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic