Monday, January 26, 2015

Empellón Taqueria, NYC: Prix-Fixe Lunch Review


While taking a hungry stroll through the West Village in NYC with a friend the other day, we stumbled across a Mexican spot with an impressive-looking menu, Empellón Taqueria. We decided to try out the $25, 3 course prix-fixe lunch menu. Here is what we got!

SPICY CUCUMBER COCKTAIL
This is not included on the prix-fixe menu. The cocktail comes with Cimarron Blanco Tequila, fresh cucumber and jalapeño tincture. This was a delicious drink, although we would have liked a little more jalapeño flavor and the portion was too small. We finished this $14 drink in record time because it came in a small glass and over lots of ice cubes.

SHRIMP, SHRIMP CHORIZO, NUGGET POTATO and SERRANO SALSA
This was insanely delicious! The shrimp was perfectly prepared and tasted fresh and flavorful. The chorizo added a nice smokiness and the small potatoes provided a creamy texture. The salsa was bright with the perfect amount of kick and lots of cilantro flavor. This was the best course.


FISH TEMPURA and PORK SHOULDER PIBIL TACOS
The restaurant actually does not let you mix and match tacos. You have to order one kind, although you get 2 tacos per order. We've seen this at other restaurants and we really think this is unfortunate since we love variety and trying different things. Luckily we were there with our friend who was willing to share, so we each ordered different tacos then split the portion. The fish tempura taco was piping hot and the fish was crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside. It tasted wonderful with the cabbage and lime mayonnaise that it comes with. The pork shoulder pibil was even better. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender and packed with flavor. The blood orange mayonnaise and pickled red onion that comes with it gave a nice subtle sweetness and tang. Both tacos came on tasty, grilled soft corn tortillas.


MILK CHOCOLATE FLAN with COCOA-MASA STREUSEL and CINNAMON ICE CREAM
This was a strange dessert that really didn't work for us. The "flan" was really just chocolate pudding, which tasted nice but didn't go well with the cinnamon ice cream and overwhelming amount of streusel. The dish looked pretty and we had no problem eating all of it, but overall there were too many flavors and textures fighting with each other.


YUZU PASSION FRUIT CURD with MEZCAL, ORANGE and MERINGUE
Our friend ordered this dessert so that we could try 2 different kinds. Unlike the flan, this was the perfect balance of flavors and textures and we absolutely loved it! The curd was tart, sweet and silky and the fresh orange gave it a nice fresh fruit finish. The meringue added a fun marshmallowy flavor and texture and we couldn't really decipher the Mezcal which was great because we don't really care for smoked tequila. Make sure to order this dessert if you find yourself ordering off this prix-fixe lunch menu.


Overall, we really adored our meal at Empellón Taqueria and would like to come back and try more offerings. It was a bit too pricey for lunch, however, but that was really our fault for ordering the drink. After the cocktail, tax and tip, the total came to $50 per person. If you're in the mood to splurge at lunch, definitely give this spot a try.


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