One of the many strengths of Lower East Side restaurant wd~50 is its perpetually excellent pastry department. Chef Wylie Dufresne has a knack for finding executive pastry chefs that can put out finales (and whole dessert tasting menus) that can stand up to his avant guarde cuisine. So, it is always a loss when one leaves.
But today, we can report that Alex Stupak, the young chef who left Alinea to take over when Sam Mason left to open his now closed restaurant Tailor, is on the way out. Last night his new concept Empellon in the recently shuttered Chow space on 230 W. 4th St. was narrowly approved by Community Board 2's SLA Licensing Committee. Details are scarce on how the restaurant will take shape or when it will open but Stupak said he wants it to be a place for other industry folks to eat at when they're done with their shifts.
And he says this of his departure, "As illogical as it ever seems sometimes it's appropriate to cut off one arm to force yourself to learn how to use the other." Fair enough. We wish him luck and hope the bench is deep enough over at wd to fill his shoes.
Update: The restaurant is called Empellon (we originally had it down as Sada), which means to push. Stupak says he's opening a taqueria, plain and simple. He'll open it with wife Lauren Resler sometime next year.
· All Coverage of wd~50 [~ENY~]
[photo credit: Gothamist]