I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Empellon: Brunch it up

 Om Nomz Her Note to Self: Stuff meant to be shared by the table, is still sharing if you are the only one on the table

Tucked away in a corner in the West Village, is a new restaurant opened by Alex Stupak. Making his name at WD~50 as the executive pastry chef, news of him leaving and starting opening his own restaurant made all the foodies go crazy in wondering what it would be. Given his reputation at WD~50, most speculated that would be a dessert focused restaurant doing crazy things and innovated (I refuse to call it molecular) food. To much surprise, he decided to open Empellon a Mexican restaurant. The reaction from the foodie sphere can be best described as: “WTF”. However, when asked why he decided to do a Mexican restaurant, he just said, “it is what I like”. It was a honest answer and made me want to go here. I have not been able to find anytime to go and hit up Empellon for dinner and try the tacos but he started to do a brunch service and on a quiet Saturday morning, I decided to make an impromptu trip and went to Empellon for brunch.
I was eating by myself and I go there a little after 11 and I was the only on there. Empellon thankfully forgoes any clichéd Mexican restaurant décor and goes for a whole modern look. Sombreros and ponchos were no where to be seen. The brunch menu does not have tacos, which is the main thing and the bulk of the dinner menu. Instead the bulk of the entrees here are egg based and savory. Many of the dishes have beans in them and the combination of meat, beans and eggs it is most likely you will not be walking away hungry from this meal. 

Churros and Hot Chocolate is my newest, tasty vice
Since my recent trip to Peru, I have been wanting (obsessing) over good churros and trying to find some. To my delight, under the share for the table section, had just want I have been hankering for, hot chocolate and churros. Although I am assuming this is supposed to be a shared dish, it was listed for the table, it did not say how many had to be at the table!
The hot chocolate and churros came piping hot and were clearly freshly made. The hot chocolate was thickened with masa and had a hit of mescal. The hot chocolate was thick, creamy and smooth and it was a subtle sweetness it was like awesome chocolate gravy. The hot chocolate was prefect consistency and taste for dipping churros in which were just as delectable. The outside was crisp and covered in cinnamon sugar adding even more to the crunch factor of the churro. The churro was denser than the ones I had in Peru however the inside was soft and custard like contrasting well against the crunchy exterior. Dipped in the hot chocolate, it was a delectable treat and because the hot chocolate was smartly sweetened, the combination of churro and chocolate did not send one into a sugary comatose and a great way to start a meal or the day. If it did not make me look like Paddy O’Fatty and I did not order an entrée I would be fine just chilling and munching on another plate of churros. 

Huevos Motuleos
For my main I got the Huevos Motuleos. The dish comprised of two sunny side eggs, sitting on top of a tostada with black beans, smoked plantains, and sprinkled with peas and ham. The tostada was a good contrast to soft and nicely cooked black beans and the runny egg. The star of this dish is the smoked plantains which took me about a quarter ways through this dish to find them hidden under the tostada. The smoked plantains were meaty, hearty and full on smoky. Adding to the smoky flavors of the dish was the cubes of country ham and although the dish was borderline just being a smoky dish, the salsa/sauce was sweetened, equalizing the dish.
Maybe I am an asshole, but I kind of wanted a taco or hell even a torta option on the brunch menu. I mean the dinner menu is full of them, and tacos are eaten in the morning in Mexico so something? However I do respect it at the same time he is not going for the expected. My knowledge of Latin American food and pretty much anywhere else eggs and beans are a staple morning ingredients which the brunch menu clearly represents and Empellon does a good job executing. Although I have not dined there yet for dinner, from what I have experienced from brunch, I am optimistic and looking forward to trying out the dinner menu. Also, there is something about chicharons on the dinner menu so I am down like a pork eating Charlie Brown. 

230 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10014

No comments:

Post a Comment