In an 8,000 square-foot, 150-seat, bi-level space at 510 Madison Ave., Alex Stupak has opened Empellon Midtown with double the number of staff at all of his downtown restaurants combined. Though diners will find a few crossover dishes from his other restaurants, much of the menu is new. Here’s what critic Ryan Sutton has to stay about his experiences there.
Empellon Midtown Serves Three-Star Dessert Tacos
There is a single rule for eating at Empellon, Stupak’s first Midtown restaurant: Order dessert, at least two per person, or three if you’re alone, because Stupak, the longtime pastry chef at Alinea and WD~50, is putting out some of the city’s best sweets at fair prices in a cavernous bi-level space that could double as a Dos Caminos if things don’t work out.
Empellon Midtown Serves One-Star Savory Tacos
At the new Midtown location, the kitchen thinks it’s a good idea to drown an octopus tentacle in savory peanut butter with celery. I’ll politely describe the resulting texture and flavor as oceanic sludge. Rather than show off Oaxacan grasshoppers for their chipotle-like heat or popcorn-esque crunch, the chefs would prefer to make them a nearly inconsequential element in falafel tacos with hummus. Pastrami tacos use both sauerkraut and mustard seed to drown out any remaining flavor in gelatinous corned beef. They cost $22, about as much as the namesake sandwich as Katz’s and precisely one eighth as delicious.