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Inside Empellon Cocina, Now Lighter, Smaller, and Serving Queso

Alex Stupak now has an open kitchen, and soon will debut his tasting menu at a four-seat counter.

As expected, Alex Stupak's Empellon Cocina has just finished its revamp. Gone are the towering blue eagle mural and the black lacquered seating, but the Frida Kahlo-esque, Day of the Dead paintings live on, as does an least one classically Stupak quote on the wall. The new Empellon has less space (thanks to a newly open kitchen, which helped drop the seat count down from 75 to 45) and a lighter color scheme. It's now outfitted with brown and beige-striped banquettes, glossy white enamel tiling, and a few animal bones thrown in for good measure. There are also some exposed wood beams and Mission-style arches to give the place a more old school vibe. The resulting space shows equal parts minimalism and Mexican fiesta.

Menu-wise, the a la carte menu has expanded, and even now includes and some Tex-Mex options (right in line with the recent mania). Meanwhile, expect Stupak to start serving that ambitious 18-course menu to a four-seat counter next week.

Empellon Cocina

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

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