Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 12/17/2014
Chicken and chipotle tacos. Courtesy, Empellón
Empellón al Pastor
132 St. Marks Pl., 646-833-7039, East Village, Manhattan
Alex Stupak, formerly revered as a brilliant pastry chef, turned his eye to mastering Mexican cooking some years back, opening downtown's highly regarded Empellón Taqueria and Empellón Cocina. His latest, Empellón al Pastor, occupies an East Village corner that once housed the punk-rock bar Alcatraz. Its vivid decor and low prices pay tribute to its origins. Groups of friends gab over micheladas, margaritas and $4 tacos—chicken and chipotle, beef with caramelized onions, or spit-roasted pork and pineapple. Beer-braised and mescal-finished black beans and chunky, jalapeño-laced guacamole with chips are also just $4. Everything is made in-house, from salsas to tortillas. Tequila and mescal obsessives should take note of the comprehensive selection, selling for $5 to $9 a shot. If you want them mixed in a cocktail, however, it's $10–$14.