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Alex Stupak Makes Empellon Cocina's Shrimp Tostada

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Welcome back to Sound Bites, an Eater original video feature in which footage of the city's most badass chefs crafting their signature dishes is paired with tunes from up-and-coming musicians. Regarding the volume: turn it up.

In this edition of Sound Bites, pastry chef turned taco slinger Alex Stupak demonstrates a new dish from his forthcoming East Village restaurant Empellon Cocina, the more refined sister restaurant to his original West Village spot Empellon Taqueria (née Empellon). Watch above to get a sneak peek of his shrimp tostadas and make sure to try them once he opens up in the New Year.

This time, sexy and cool Brooklyn band Shad[]B[]x provides the tunes. Click through to read Stupak's explanation of the dish.


The inspiration for this dish is all the freshness and appeal that the idea of a tostada has to offer. Tostadas are sold in market stalls and cafeterias in Mexico and typically are offered with a myriad of topping choices and are most often embellished with a copious amount of fresh garnishes. Tostadas are a simple vehicle for delivering a ton of satisfying textures and flavors.

Empellón is not authentic and we will always try to put our own personal touch on the flavors we love.

I adapted a technique I learned from Michel Bras when he visited wd~50. He did a special dinner at wd~50 while I was still the pastry chef there and he gave me the honor of making his desserts, one of which were these candied potato waves that he layers with brown butter mousse.

Applying the technique to masa and Mexican flavors feels fresh and new and yields us a tostada-like creation that feels appropriate for a Manhattan restaurant.


The most important technique here is making the wavy tostadas. We take a classic masa mixture typically steamed for tamales. We spread it and bake it briefly in an oven to set it. We then cut it into rectangles and lay it across pipes bolted into a sheet tray. We lay more pipes in the gaps and bake the masa again until crisp.

The second technique of note is the sea urchin butter. We take sea urchin and blend it with a roasted tomato sauce. Butter is mounted in and the whole mixture is chilled. Once cold, we whip it like a mousse and layer it between the tostada waves.


Masa for making the crispy wavy tostada strips.
Roasted tomato puree, sea urchin and butter for the sea urchin butter.
Hydroponically grown lettuces we buy from the green market.
Queso Fresco
Crema (Mexican Style Sour Cream)
Salsa (Roasted Tomatillos and Chipotle Chile)
Shaved Radish
Jalapeno slices

· Previous Editions of Sound Bites [~ENY~]
· Shad[]B[]x [Official Site]


230 West 4th Street, New York, New York 10014

Empellon Cocina

105 First Avenue, New York, NY 10003 212 780 0909

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