Empellon emperor Alex Stupak is reopening his crown jewel Empellon Cocina tonight with a redesigned space and a new 18-course tasting menu that will be served to just one party a night. Stupak told Eater recently: "I'm building a place for me to stand. I want Cocina to be the place where we can tinker and develop our own version of what modern Mexican cuisine means." He hasn't said what exactly will appear on that menu, but explains: "I have lists and lists of stuff I want to do that would be weird on an a la carte menu." Whatever those dishes are, they'll be served by Stupak himself to the select diners who will pretty much be sitting in the newly opened kitchen.
As for the rest of the restaurant, Stupak cut down on the number of seats, dropping it from 75 to 45 and says the space "should look drastically different." He also promises better lighting (hello, Instagram). The a la carte menu was changed somewhat, giving it just a slight Tex Mex touch with an offering of queso with berbere spice. Fans of the house's legendary (and legendarily expensive) guac with pistachios, shouldn't despair, the dish is still at the top of the menu.
While the restaurant reopens tonight (just a few days behind schedule), the 18-course tasting menu won't make its debut until the week of May 11. Once things settle down, Stupak hopes to open an Empellon Taqueria outside NYC and ultimately create a "proper fast food version" of Al Pastor.
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